Allentown Fair, unimpeded by COVID-19, starts 170th year to squeals of delight

Written by on August 31, 2022

Allentown Fair, unimpeded by COVID-19, starts 170th year to squeals of delight

By Jay Bradley
August 31, 2022

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – With pigs squealing, deep fryers sizzling and music and events playing over loudspeakers, the Great Allentown Fair kicked off Wednesday night – as thousands came after work to take part in the agriculture-focused festival’s 170th year.

Many in the area have childhood memories of the fair, and with COVID-19 worries less severe than recent years, are now bringing their own children to continue the tradition.

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Joshua and Mahendi Effting came to do just that, and to start going back to large events with their 2-year-old daughter, Noelle.

“She’s so used to being away from everybody,” her mother said. “So it’s nice to be out and about.”

“Do you want to see the farm animals?” she asked Noelle while in line — and got an enthusiastic “Yeah!” in response.

On display were winners for competitions in produce, arts, photography, education and more. And special events and competitions are scheduled throughout the week, with plenty of opportunities to pet livestock.

Cows, rabbits, sheep, goats, pigs and more were there to be seen and petted by all the youngsters and young-at-heart.

Jennifer Boyle and her son Davin of Just Enuff Farm in Nazareth brought 18 of their family’s cattle to display to the festival goers — hoping to win an award.

“So this one is a first-time mom and that one is a baby, and her name is Shayla,” explained Davin Boyle, who entered many other youth competitions, such as the LEGO-building contest.

“Sally was our champion heifer here last year,” Jennifer Boyle said.

The Boyles emphasized the 4-H programming they do at the farm, and how great it is to be able to educate others about local farms at fairs such as Allentown’s.

“It’s really nice to bring the classroom to the people, you know, let them experience what these animals are really like,” the mother said. “We love when people ask questions, and we let them touch them.

“And again, just teach about it that there, yes, is a goal in mind. They are to produce beef, but they’re really like our pets.”

Organizers expect this year’s fair to be bigger and have more offerings than last year’s, which was still impacted by the pandemic.

To address security after incidents of gun violence at both Musikfest and Easton’s Heritage Day this summer, metal detectors were installed at each entrance to the fair and the public address announcement system was upgraded.

The fair’s popular grandstand entertainment kicks off Thursday night with Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys at 7 p.m. Tickets remain available at $49.

Tickets, starting at $54, also remain for country star Cole Swindell on Friday, but some sections already are sold out.

Allison Emanuel, of Laury’s Station, was crowned 2022 Great Allentown Fair queen on opening night.

The fair continues from noon to 10 p.m. daily through Labor Day at the Allentown Fairgrounds.


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