Weighing in on the Troy Fair
I don’t normally enter into public debates on Facebook, but I’ve seen too many posts bashing the Troy Fair to not weigh in.
I have had the opportunity to see the fair from many different viewpoints – as a child attending the fair; as an exhibitor in 4-H, Home Arts and Dairy; as an Alternate Dairy Princess; as a Troy Fair Queen; as a volunteer; as a financial supporter; and as a parent bringing my own children. I have also had the opportunity to participate in a number fairs throughout New York and Pennsylvania, including the Bloomsburg Fair, as an exhibitor. Through all of this, I always come home thankful for our Troy Fair.
Growing up on a family-owned and operated dairy farm in West Burlington, I was not able to go on family vacations like many others. Instead, our family vacation each year was attending the Troy Fair every day. We would go in the morning after chores and spend all day enjoying the livestock and dairy shows, walking through the exhibit halls and climbing in all of the farm equipment on display. Then we would go home for evening chores, only to return again for the tractor pulls, demolition derby and in special years even a concert. I’ll never forget my very first real, live concert was Eddie Rabbit at the Troy Fair! My oldest son had his first concert experience at the Troy Fair, too! My grandmother, mom and I usually go to the concert together each year. Memories for a lifetime are made at the Troy Fair!
Some have complained about the price of admission going up. Yes, when I was a kid, you paid to park your car and admission was free. Then, for a few years, you paid a nominal fee to get in, but had to buy tickets (very expensive tickets) or wait for wristband special days to ride (very long lines to ride). For a few years, you could pre-purchase your wristband to ride any day. Now, it’s pay one price, which is a great deal for a family. Yes, if you don’t ride, paying the extra $3 is going to annoy you, but plan ahead. The Troy Fair will mail you advanced purchase tickets, even if it’s just gate passes. If you don’t know until Sunday, that’s fine, stop by the ticket office before 9 p.m. and get your $4 gate tickets. Are you going all week, buy an $18 weekly pass by 9 p.m. on Sunday – that will save you $6 to $24 for the week. In fact, come down around 7 p.m. Sunday night to get your discounted tickets and enjoy the ribbon cutting ceremony and Troy Fair Queen Pageant. If you are a Senior Citizen and don’t want to pay $7 to get in to the Troy Fair, come on Tuesday when you can get in for free!
Everybody wants to compare the Troy Fair to the Bloomsburg Fair. I’ve been to the Bloomsburg Fair on numerous occasions and I’m not impressed. You pay to park, you pay to get in, you pay to ride and you pay for more shows than just the grandstand shows. At the Troy Fair, this year your $7 got you in the fair, unlimited rides, three Michael Blaine the hypnotist shows each day and three Shark Encounter shows each day. If we are going to compare fairs, let’s compare the closest two Pennsylvania fairs – Tioga County and Sullivan County. Both are great fairs, cost about the same (Tioga County – $6 per day with rides or $30 weekly pass without rides; Sullivan County – $8 per day with rides), but don’t offer as many free shows as the Troy Fair.
Some may wonder about the profits from the fair and where they go. The profits are used for capital improvements to the park area, such as the exhibition halls, bathrooms, paving, etc. This benefits other groups who use the grounds, such as the Maple Festival and the Marcellus Shale Expo.
I think what bothers me the most about all of this talk is that everyone keeps missing the real reason the Troy Fair is here – Agriculture! The Troy Fair is a celebration of, and a showcase for, the spirit, the heart and the strength of Bradford County – our agricultural roots and rural traditions and lifestyle that are more than two centuries deep. May the Troy Fair always, at least for one brief week each year, focus the attention of Bradford County on its great heritage.
Congratulations to the Troy Fair on a successful 137 years and best wishes for the next 137 years!
Long-time community resident