BLOOMSBURG — Visit the Bloomsburg Fair today through Sept. 29 and you might see people walking around with any kind of snack, from chocolate-covered bacon to a maple-flavored milkshake to a deep-fried pickle.
You might also see some walking around with a drop or two of Gatorade on a Q-tip and, no, it’s not because they’re on a strict diet.
That’s what David and Joan Folk, of Nescopeck, will give you when you enter their butterfly tent.
“You’re going to feed the butterflies,” David Folk said earlier this week, explaining that Folks’ Butterfly Farm will have 600 to 700 of the winged creatures inside the enclosed space, along with an educational exhibit. “We actually have the whole life cycle inside, with caterpillars and chrysalis and we hope to have eggs by the second or third day.”
Folk predicts he’ll be so busy, he won’t have a chance to wander through the rest of the fair, but other family members will take his preschool-age grandchildren to see the livestock.
“They’re always like, ‘the cows, we’ve gotta go see the cows,’ even though we have cows at home,” he said with a chuckle.
Poultry, sheep, rabbits, horses and, of course, those milk-giving marvels, the cows, can be viewed during the fair, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. most days. That’s also when you can see the arts and crafts, horticultural and industrial displays. A one-room schoolhouse and “Our Living Past” educational exhibit are open all day until darkness falls.
Most people who will visit the 163rd annual Bloomsburg Fair, one of Pennsylvania’s largest, likely have a favorite activity, whether it’s whirling around on carnival rides, admiring large pumpkins and other farmland bounty, or shopping for everything from handmade leather belts to all-natural treats for your horse.
Perusing the list of close to 900 vendors reveals you can expect to find everything from saddlebags to snowflake-shaped jewelry to remedies purported to relieve migraine headaches and nail fungus. There’s also information on gutter protection and home remodeling, learning how to become a long-distance truck driver, and more.
Grandstand entertainment includes Chris Daughtry at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21; a truck and tractor pull at 7 p.m. Sept. 22; contemporary Christian band Casting Crowns at 6 p.m. Sept. 23; ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24; and singers Cole Swindell at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25; Rick Springfield at 7 p.m. Sept. 26; Melissa Etheridge at 8 p.m. Sept. 27; Vince Gill at 8 p.m. Sept. 28, and Brett Eldredge at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29.
“We can’t go to the concerts but we can hear them,” said vendor Pamela Zeisler, of Nescopeck, who offers a “go green” message at her stand, along with the fabric clothespin bags (for air-drying clothes on a line) and furnishings made from rescued wood she sells.
“The fair is just a good time,” she added. “You see so many people you know.”
As for food, repeat fair visitors know what they like.
Ron Castill, of Conyngham, for example, plans to spend hours working at Black Creek United Methodist Church’s permanent stand, the one near the grandstand “with a big baked potato on top.”
“Our forte is baked potatoes with toppings,” he said, explaining the church volunteers expect to bake 4,000 spuds on site during the fair week. They’ll also cook about 2,000 pounds of meat for their baked chicken, pulled pork and baked ham platters and sandwiches, and they’ll have three varieties of homemade soup simmering.
While he says the church’s food is delicious, Castill likes to patronize other stands, taking a walk at different times to pick up a stuffed hoagie, a gyro, fresh-cut fries or a sausage sandwich.
Folk, from the butterfly stand, said he won’t get to see much of the fair. “They chain me fast to the booth,” he joked. But he’ll send out for some orange-ade, Polock’s Pizza and pierogies from Pierogie Joe’s, whose stand he described as “hidden over on one of the back streets.”
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT