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Tenters and Campers Highlight Grange Fair

by on August 24, 2012 6:23 AM

CENTRE HALL — On Monday, a steady stream of tenters and campers flowed on Homan Lane into Grange Park in Centre Hall as the 138th annual Grange Fair prepared to open.

Many families have been tenting at the fair for several generations. Among the people preparing their tent for the week was Gretchen Zellers, and her nephew, Gabriel Coakley. They were cleaning up leaves and twigs in front of their family’s tent. Gabriel’s father, Brian, was busy assembling a two-by-four frame for the tent’s front porch.

“I just come to do the work,” said Coakley.

The family has been tenting in the same spot for 50 years.

Assisting the Coakley/Zellers family was their longtime friend, Gene Teaman. Teaman has trailer camped at Grange Fair since trailers were first admitted, in 1964.

“The first year we were in the trees. There were only 11 of us,” said Teaman.

Now there are over 1,300 campers on the grounds in the camping area. Teaman said he gave up camping this year for the first time.

About 100 yards away, at the headquarters building, Grange Fair Secretary, Art Reede, of Pine Grove Mills and his crew were busy getting ready for the fair.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Reede.

Reede drove to Grange Park in his pristine 1952 Studebaker Champion sedan. He said that seeing it parked next to the historic headquarters building was like stepping back 60 years in time. Reede found the car in rough shape and performed much restoration work on it. He enjoys driving it around the Centre County area.

The 2012 Grange Fair, which opened Thursday, runs through Aug. 30.

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