LEHMAN TWP. — The rain did not deter Seanna Ashton from seeing the Shark Encounter exhibit at the Luzerne County Fair on Wednesday.
“They are my most favorite thing in the world,” the Sweet Valley teen said. “This is my first time seeing this type of shark up close.”
Despite the gloomy weather, the 55th Luzerne County Fair opened at 4 p.m. sharp at the fairgrounds in Lehman Township.
Kick-off day was a little slow out of the gate as rain kept many patrons away, but that did not surprise vendor Stan Stein.
Stein, who operates a booth that sells a variety of metal signs, vehicle-detailing products and sunglasses, said the first day is typically slow.
“Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be better,” he said, noting the weather this summer has been unusually wet.
Ashton did not mind getting a little wet to see three nurse sharks at the Shark Encounter.
In fact, she got a lot wet.
Shark Encounter presenter Philip Peters chose Ashton out of an audience of about 20 to demonstrate the glass strength of the 5,000-gallon mobile shark tank.
The teen made a fist with her hand and banged on the glass. Then, water sprayed out of an area on the bottom of the glass.
The water trick ended when Peters gave Ashton a little piece of bright pink duct tape to “fix” the hole.
Peters continued his nearly 20-minute show by getting into the tank with the nurse sharks.
He told people there are 250 species of sharks but only four are considered to be “man-eaters.”
Kaley Walker, 13, of Mountain Top, came to the fair with her grandmother Kitty Piccotti to see the art exhibit.
“She won three first-place ribbons and one second-place ribbon for her artwork,” Piccotti said. “I am very proud of her.”
Brenda Pugh, chairwoman of the Luzerne County Fair, said the event is “100 percent nonprofit.”
“We make a donation back to the clubs whose members volunteer,” she added.
A common question Pugh hears is what are fair proceeds used for.
The answer: A little of everything.
A lot of the income is used to maintain the grounds, she said. But the Luzerne County Fairgrounds also host several programs throughout the year, Pugh said, including 4-H County shows, horse shows, a Halloween event, a drive-thru Nativity, and training programs for the state Game Commission.
The Luzerne County Fair committee Wednesday honored the Times Leader Media Group with a Sponsor of the Year plaque for its continued support over many years, Pugh said.
Renee Sager, director of marketing and administration at the Times Leader, accepted the award on behalf of the company.
“It is a privilege and an honor to support an organization that gives back so much to the community,” Sager said.