A Pizza Apple Pie and New Queen Named at Taste of the Fair
By Steven Hoffman
In the quest to select the new queen or find the most recent championship pie, the leadership of the Unionville Community Fair was not hampered by the limitations placed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Longtime organizer and frequent president Bonnie Musser said they wanted to continue the tradition of naming a fair queen and princess, but due to the ban on large gatherings, they were not able to have the traditional pageant. The solution the committee came up with was to elevate the preceding year’s alternate queen and princess to the ascendant royalty this year.
At the third Taste of the Fair event that took place in Unionville last Saturday, the 2020 queen’s crown was bestowed on Lauren Chamberlain by 2019 queen Lexie McNeil. Tamasina Petragnani assumed the title of Fair Princess from 2019 princess Sophie Halsey.
The crowning ceremony took place on under a huge tree on the property Foxy Loxy Ice Cream Parlour. Musicians Dan and Galla, who frequently perform at the Unionville Community Fair, provided entertainment for the occasion.
The naming of the queen and princess was just one of the events highlighting the third mini-fair that the committee offered to the public in the difficult year that has been fraught with the dangerous pandemic and widespread cancellations. The previous two Taste of the Fair were held in August and September.
Another competition that has usually elicited excitement through the years is the naming of the best apple pie. In past years, that winner at the Unionville Community Fair then enters the pie at the Pennsylvania Farm Show to compete with other contest winners throughout the state.
This year’s winner was Anne Nuse, whose apple crumble pie was in the shape of a pizza. She was selected as first place winner out of 11 entries. The judges agreed that her pie was not only creative, but had “an excellent crust and beautiful presentation.”
Nuse explained afterward that the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg would not be held in 2021, so her pie has reached its pinnacle in Unionville on Saturday.
This month’s Taste of the Fair was had plenty of visitors, with quite a few children arriving in Halloween costumes and some of them bringing carved pumpkins for judging.
Decades-long pumpkin judge and former Red Clay Valley Association CEO Bob Struble was on hand to select the winning pumpkin.
Another highlight at the event was the assembling of dozens of classic cars in what became in three months a convivial fair tradition led by Lou Mandich, the founder and operator of The Last Chance Garage, which services, repairs and restores antique vehicles.
“He’s here!” the vehicle owners cheered as Irenee DuPont, a 100-year old driver of a 102-year-old Buick, arrived. DuPont then handily backed his car precisely into a parking place alongside a passel of other old vehicles.
Once again, Charlie Brosius, a master farmer and former state Secretary of Agriculture, brought his reconditioned calliope, which provided classic tunes in alternating time periods with music entertainers Dan and Galla.
Several vendors also made their products available, and the Foxy Loxy Ice Cream Parlour and Coffee Shop was active throughout the day selling snacks.
Karen Statz, who in previous years has had the luxury of overseeing the competitions under shelter of a large old barn on the Landhope Farms property in Willowdale, artfully made do with the limitations of the interior at the former Unionville residence.
Also returning for a second visit to the Taste of the Fair was Priscilla the cow, who is known around town as the alpha cow on the nearby Baily Farm.
The Unionville Community Fair was initially as a corn show in 1924 by the members of the Future Farmers of America group at Unionville High School, and the event has grown and evolved since then.
In all, Musser, who has been attending and often participating in the fair for more than seven decades, said that fair organizers were not going to be deterred by the pandemic. Musser was pleased with the results of the Taste of the Fair event.
“It was well-attended,” she said, adding that she is already looking forward to the 100th Unionville Community Fair four years from now.