Joaquin who? Despite rain, 91st Unionville Fair carries on
● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
Although all of the weather forecasts had correctly predicted that Hurricane Joaquin would drift off into the Atlantic Ocean, the tail of the storm blanketed Chester County with rain last Friday, drenching the Unionville Community Fair & Farm Show grounds to the point where not a single musical note or the squeal of a barnyard animal could be heard.
By about noon the next day, the fair grounds were a quagmire of mud, and the victim of a cold October wind that whipped the activity tents into a flapping frenzy. And yet, it was inside those tents that the resilient spirit of this 91-year-old fair was alive and well, despite the rain.
On Friday evening, the first night of the fair, Danielle Chamberlain, Unionville Fair president, texted longtime fair organizer Bonnie Musser, who was attending her grandson's birthday party. Chamberlain texted that a last-minute decision by fair organizers enabled the lip sync contest to be moved from a smaller tent to the main activity tent, and that more than 100 fair-goers were there, enjoying the lip-sync contest, eating cotton candy and pizza, and dancing to the sounds of the musical duo Dan & Galla.
"I told Danielle that the fair volunteers really came through for us," Musser said. "To me, that says that the community still came together and supported the fair. We are going to lose money this weekend, because a lot of things that were supposed to happen aren't going to happen, but we bundle up and make the best of it, and get muddy together. As I said to somebody, 'We'll all just muddle through.'"
"This fair is wonderful, because they focus on children, teenagers and families," said Galla of the Dan & Galla musical duo, who have performed often at the fair. "You don't always see that. There's a whole bunch of people here who are crazy enough to volunteer amazing amounts of hours to make a wonderful, agricultural showcase. It's important, because the kids need to know where their food comes from."
Despite the rain, many fair events remained on the schedule. Unionville resident Kim Hagen and her daughter Lauren attended the tent activities, as part of Lauren's birthday weekend.
"We moved here about two-and-a-half years ago, and we think it's so lovely how the community all comes together," Hagen said. "You know a lot of work went into it, so it would break my heart to not be here, just because it is cold and damp out."
Dave Pritchard, treasurer and finance director for the fair, encouraged fair organizers to sharpen their pencils in finding ways on how to cut costs this year.
"Because I've been on the board for about 11 years, I've been through at least one of these scenarios where the weather was detrimental to the fair," Pritchard said. "It takes a lot to put this fair together, and it also takes a great deal of money from a volunteer and financial standpoint, so to see it affected by the weather is disappointing. But by the same token, you learn to tolerate it and live with the consequences."
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail email@example.com.