The 89th West End Fair starts a little wet and in the dark
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Harold and Mary Fehr of Bloomsbury, New Jersey have been coming to the West End Fair for the last five years and they come every day, even in the rain. "Rain doesn't matter much," they said as they sat and listened to Eva perform on the Main Stage in the rain, shielded with their umbrellas. "We love the shows." And the horses, and the circus and the food. They arrived for the fair when the gates opened at 10 a.m. and they planned on staying for the fireworks.
Opening day at the 2010 89th West End Fair got off to a bit of dark start with only about 15,000 people, down about half of last year's count of over 30,000.
First a little rain put a damper on the beginning of the day.
Gates opened at 10 a.m. and a few serious fairgoers were on hand to walk the midway in rain coats and ponchos carrying umbrellas.
The Quarter Midget Racing got rained out but for the rest of the fair's entertainment, it was "The show must go on."
Rain didn't stop "Steel Creek" and "Eva" from performing on the Main Stage. It didn't stop the Martial Arts Demo or Elite Dance Center in the Band Shell from their demonstrations and performances.
Goofy and Spiderman still entertained a handful of kids with their antics and magic tricks during the Children Celebrity Look Alike Character shows in the Band Shell. By the time Darth Vader made his appearance at 4:30 p.m. his audience had grown because by late afternoon, the sun came out and so did the crowds.
By the time Melody Dance Studio gave their performance, it was as if God smiled on the fair and many enjoyed the Pleasant Valley Ecumenical Network's vesper service under blue skies and fair weather.
Then around 8:15 p.m., the lights went out. Only a few concession stands, (owned by Dale's Concessions,) and the rides, remained lit up, thanks to their own generators.
But it didn't send anyone home. It only seemed to add to the excitement of being at the West End Fair.
"This is kind of neat," said one fairgoer.
Lights came back on at 8:50 p.m. to cheers.
According to Tom Hodgdon, vice president of the West End Fair Association, a main fuse blew on the power line for the fair. The fair's electrician, Bob Heeter, replaced it and it was business (fun) as usual.
"We just kept walking. We headed toward where the lights were," said Leanne Stephan of Effort as they waited for the fireworks, which were fantastic and received a rousing applause from those who watched them in the arena.
Simonetta Heron of Kresgeville summed up the first day of the fair this way.
"The day started out dark and dreary. The house was a mess but I said to my friend and my children, let's go to the fair anyway.
One minute it was dreary and the next it was sunshine. A gift, like a miracle," she said.
Growing up in Italy, Simonetta remembers lots of occasions to celebrate one thing or another and it always brought people together.
"That's why I like the West End Fair so much. It's people in the community getting together for one big party. And of course, there's the food."
Today at the fair the Halter Class horse judging and single/double hitch horse driving classes took place. Donna Parsons performs at 1, 3, and 5 p.m. The Pleasant Valley High School Marching Band continues a long tradition of playing at 6 p.m. in the Band Shell. Then at 7 and 9 p.m. Ryan Pelton (Elvis impersonator) performs on the Main Stage and the big car/mini van Demolition Derby #1 begins in the arena at 7 p.m.