One of the nation’s most unique county fairs is once again underway in Centre County this week.
It is expected to draw thousands to the fairgrounds, and in recent years, it’s become a big fundraiser for various nonprofit organizations.
This week marks the 149th edition of the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair, the nation’s largest tenting fair.
Festivities begin later this week, but campers began rolling in last weekend.
One thousand tents and approximately 1,500 RVs means there’s at least 12,000 people on the fairgrounds in Centre Hall each day.
In recent years, various nonprofits, ranging from schools to churches, and sports teams, have made money selling Grange admission tickets.
This year 40 nonprofits are sharing more than $32,000 through the ticket sales as the program continues to grow.
“As more and more people learn about it, for instance, my grange this year made over $1,700. It also lets people learn more and more, because it’s offered at a discount. So, now more people are calling us.”
In the early days of the Grange Fair, left over tents from the Civil War were used for camping.
Now, the event has grown to the point of having a $15 to 20 million annual economic impact, but the fair has always been about an end of summer celebration for family and friends.
“People say to me, ‘what is this?’ We say, it is the family reunion for Centre County.”