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One tradition of county fair not on bill this year

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By Chris Sardelli

The exhibit building, long a staple of the Lancaster County Fair, will be closed this year due to decreased interest.

For years, the exhibit building featured homemade crafts and produce from local residents, but participation dropped significantly during the last few fairs.

George Rollings, a fair organizer and a member of the American Legion, which sponsors the event, said organizers decided to close the exhibit building altogether this year.

"The building started back years ago when people had row crops and would bring their canned food," Rollings said. "But not that many people participate in it anymore. We lost a lot of interest in it."

Despite that lack of interest, the rest of the fair will go ahead as scheduled, said Rollings. It will run from Tuesday through Oct. 18.

It will still feature plenty of food and attractions.

Smokey Mountain Amusements of Robbinsville, N.C., will provide attractions on the midway with several rides and shows.

Most of the rides cost around $5, but Smokey Mountain will also be selling $15 armbands that allow wearers to go on an unlimited number of rides during a one-day period.

"Everybody goes for the armbands," Rollings said. "With them people can ride everything in there until they close and they can ride for a lot cheaper."

There will be several theme days catering to different groups.

School Day, during which all students can attend for free between 4:30 and 7 p.m. if they present a school ticket, will be Wednesday.

Rollings said the fair association has passed out more than 20,000 tickets throughout county schools, hoping to attract a large number of students.

Senior Day will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, with seniors 60 and older admitted free.

Admission is $3 for anyone 5 and older. Parking on the fair grounds will cost $1. Money raised at the fair will go towards the American Legion's capital improvement projects and the organization's baseball team.

Based on previous years, Rollings expects more than 5,000 attendees this year, and said the majority of them will probably be teenagers or younger.

"They look forward to the rides and the food," Rollings said. "That's mainly what they're looking for."

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416