The 92nd Unionville Community Fair & Farm Show
By Steven Hoffman
The Unionville Community Fair & Farm Show will feature plenty of new attractions to complement the family-friendly favorites that bring visitors back year after year as organizers look to increase the event’s appeal to a wider audience.
Deborah Deckman, the first-year fair president, said that she can’t wait to see how some of the new additions are received during the fair, which takes place between Sept. 30 and Oct. 2.
“I’m very excited,” Deckman said. “I’m hoping that, with the new events, everything goes over well. We’re changing a lot of things, and it should be interesting to see it all comes together.”
This fair features the largest display of agricultural products in Chester County, and agriculture will continue to be the focal point even as some new attractions are added. “We have good things growing” is the theme for the 92nd edition of the fair.
It takes months of work for the organizers to plan the event. While the fair doesn’t open to the public until Sept. 30, exhibitors will start registering at the Red Exhibit Barn from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28. The next day is a busy one as exhibitors continue to set up and the judging on many of the entries begins. The eighth annual Denim and Diamonds Dinner and Fundraiser, an elegant opening event for the fair, takes place from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Food vendors will begin setting up at 8 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 30 and the fair officially opens to the public at 9 a.m. with the usual array of family-friendly activities and attractions for all ages.
Deckman said that they are bringing in food trucks this year, just one of the many new offerings.
There will be demonstrations in front of the Exhibit Barn throughout the day. Youngsters can enjoy the Giggles & Grins Children's Activities. Matt Cadabra will bring his magic to the main stage from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. A lip-sync contest takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., followed by a family dance with Dan & Galla to close out the first night of the fair.
Another new event this year is the Smokin’ Llama’s Punkin Chunkin demonstration that will take place at various times throughout the day.
When the fair opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, the craft vendors will be all set up. Dan & Galla, favorites in the area, will return to the main stage to entertain the crowd from 10 to 11 a.m. One of the highlights of the fair, the annual parade, starts off at 10 a.m. with the route beginning at the Patton Middle School. Dan & Galla will emcee the parade from the main stage between 11 a.m. snd noon.
Meanwhile, there are many other activities taking place. The scarecrow-making contest begins at 10 a.m., with judging getting underway at noon.
A mechanical bull will be set up for attendees can experience the thrill of riding a bucking animal.
The horse show begins at 9 a.m., and this year the event moves to a new venue—Vince Dugan Stables.
Deckman said that she is very excited about the new venue because it offers more space and, in the event of rain, will offer an improved track for the participants. There’s more parking, too.
There are various activities for children to enjoy. Barnyard games will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Robin Moore, a storyteller, will be entertaining children from 1 to 2 p.m. The Give and Take Jugglers will be roving around the fairgrounds between 2:30 and 4 p.m.
A dairy show takes place from 1 to 5 p.m., followed by a cow-milking contest that is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
The Pa. State-sponsored baking contest entries are accepted at the Red Exhibit Barn from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The baking contest judging is slated for 2 p.m.
The lineup of performers on the main stage from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday will feature something for everyone as Shawn O'Donnell hosts Band Night. Alexallegra starts things off with a country music performance, followed by Dorris Nolly from 5:15 to 6 p.m. and Bill Rose from 6:15 to 7 p.m. The Caroling Strings will perform on the main stage from 7:15 to 8 p.m. The fair closes at 9 p.m.
The hours for the fair on Sunday is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and plenty of fun is packed into the shorter day. One highlight on Sunday is the Cow Pie Bingo with Dan & Galla, which takes place in the paddock area at 3 p.m.
Deckman will help Dan & Galla officially close the fair at 4 p.m. at the front of the Exhibit Barn.
One of the fair’s more popular events, the rodeo, has a new date and venue this year. The rodeo will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Brandywine Polo Field in Toughkenamon.
The rodeo, which comes toward the end of the rodeo circuit, brings in highly entertaining performers that thrills audiences.
“It is a major event,” Deckman explained. “It will be a lot of fun.”
While this is Deckman’s first year as the president, she has a strong connection to the tradition of the fair. Her husband, Matthew’s grandparents, were a part of the fair since its beginning. Matthew’s grandmother, Laura (Case) Deckman was the fourth Unionville Fair Queen, and his grandfather, Fred, was well-known for working with the Matchbox company to create the official Unionville Community Fair truck. It is now an official matchbox. She and the board members are committed to celebrating the traditions of the fair, while also seeing it continue to evolve as it approaches the 100th anniversary.
“One of the things we’re trying to do is reorganize the board so that it is multi-generational,” Deckman said. “We want to expand the range of people who are interested in the fair. We’re trying to revitalize the fair.”
More information about the event, as well as tickets to the Denim and Diamonds Dinner and fundraiser, are available at www.ucfair.org. Regular updates about this year's fair are also offered on the organization's Facebook page.