92nd West End Fair opens with great weather, great attendance
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS The West End Fair's Got Talent show made its debut on Sunday night to a packed crowd. The winning acts were: Left to right, 1st place, Katie Rubino; 2nd Basket of Red Pandas, John Schillinger, Bryan Iadisernia, Gabby Hochfeld, Rachel Wilde; 3rd Downtown Dance, Hannah Von Zup, Jessica Massimino, Jessica Gallucci, Cecelia and Olivia Hoogestraat.
It was perfect summer weather to open the e 92nd Annual West End Fair, Sunday.
Even though the exhibit buildings were closed as the judging for thousands of entries was going on, there was still tons of fun to be had.
Quarter Midget Racing thrilled race fans and Nicole Donatone and The Hawks entertained on the Main Stage with a pleasant mix of old country and new. Melody's Dance Studio got everyone energized with their dancing feet and the Olympik Karate Center showed off their amazing skills.
Galla of Dan and Galla, introduced herself at the opening ceremony as the fair's announcer for the week, as well as being the other half of Dan and Galla's Musical Show which will appear at the Band Shell on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Members of the American Legion and Auxiliary, Post 927, presented the colors at the opening ceremony.
The Vesper Service was presented by Pleasant Valley Ecumenical Network.
Wanda Murphy Smith, the coordinator of the event, brought her own special singing talents to the stage, leading the audience in hymns and praise with the help of the Narrow Road Band and Randy Cramer. They sang some old and new favorites like "We Are One In the Spirit," "I Saw the Light," "I'll Fly Away," "Amazing Grace," "Thy Word" and "Breathe."
The theme was that of unity as stated in Ephesians 4:3: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit thorough/through the bond of peace."
The Rev. James Mills, Chaplain of the American Legion Post 927 gave the opening prayer, Post 927's Commander Thomas Franklin read the poem "Our Flag," and Post 927's Auxiliary's Debra Kennelly sang "The Star Spangled Banner."
The Rev. Harry Laubach of St. Mark's Community Lutheran Church, Reeders offered his message of unity as did the Rev. Deborah Scheffy of Salem St. Paul Lutheran Church, Kresgeville.
Members of St. Matthew's UCC, Kunkletown performed a short skit titled "Sunday Dinner."
New to the Fair this year was the West End Fair's Got Talent show. There were 37 acts that submitted videos to enter before the contest. Pam Borger, the coordinator of the event and her committee, pared that down to 15 acts.
The four judges, Mike Carroll, PA State Representative, Jim Johnston of Double J associates, Nicole Walters, a Blue Ridge Cable TV 13 reporter and Dan of Dan & Galla, had a difficult time narrowing it down to the top three finalists. The winners were: 1st - Katie Rubino, 13, Stroudsburg, who sang and played the guitar of her own song, "Love You" winning $250; 2nd - "Basket of Red Pandas" a band of John Schillinger, Bryan Iadisernia, Gabby Hochfeld and the band leader, Rachel Wilde who wrote the song they sang and played, "Opposite Toast" winning $150; and 3rd - Miss Megan's Downtown Dance group of Stroudsburg, made up of Hannah Von Zup, Jessica Massimino, Jessica Gallucci, Cecelia Hoogestraat and Olivia Hoogestraat who won $100.
Winning first place gives Katie Rubino the added extra prize of being the opening act for Richie Fields on Saturday, Aug. 31 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows.
The opening day of the fair ended with an amazing and spectacular fireworks show by TNT Fireworks, that had the crowds standing on their feet, shouting their approval.
The fun and entertainment continues the rest of the week with the gates opening Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday at noon, and Wednesday and Saturday at 10 a.m.
Daily attractions all day include Farmer For A Day, the Craft Tent, Petting Zoo, Fair Museum, Antique Tractors and Engines and don't miss the Polk Township Historical Society's Bake Oven.
Monday there will be: halter class horse judging at 12 p.m.; Lenny & The Loafers at 1 and 2:30 p.m., the Pleasant Valley High School Band at 5 p.m.; PV Cheerleaders at 6:30 p.m.; a Demo Derby of big cars and minivans at 7 p.m.; and Chris Higbee on the Main Stage at 7 and 9 p.m.
Tuesday's activities are: John Hamby with Southern Comfort Band at 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.; Dan & Galla at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.; Tracy Lee at 6, 7:30 and 9 p.m.; Demo Derby at 7 p.m. of big cars, minivans, compacts, pickups and lawn mowers.
Tom Hodgdons, vice president of the West End Fair Association, said the start of the Fair's week was perfect. They had an attendance of about 32,000 with great weather and a good crowd.
"I'm sure all our vendors were happy. We have a lot of church, school, fire companies and local organizations that depend on a good attendance. Our Fair association works hard all year to put together the Fair. We're still a good country fair with animals, produce and crafts. We're hoping for as good weather the rest of the week," he said.