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Tenters Prepare for Camping at Grange Fair

by and on August 15, 2019 11:28 AM

The 145th annual Grange Fair and Encampment will begin this week at Grange Park in Centre Hall, and Sunday was a day for tenters to set up before the fair officially opens on Friday.

In the tent area, pickup trucks, SUVs and utility trailers laden with furniture snaked down the tent rows and the sound of drills and hammers were heard, as tenters assembled front porches and rear kitchen add-ons for their tents. These structures are mostly wooden, plastic pipe or metal tube frames, covered with plastic tarps.

Many of the tenting families have been doing so for generations. Holly Grove and her family were moving furniture into their family tent on Sunday. Grove’s daughter Abbie Duck and her three children were helping out. Duck said her children Paisley, Sawyer and Kanyon were the fifth generation of the family to occupy their tent.

Next to the headquarters building is the tent of the Dutrow family from Centre Hall. This family has been tenting at the fair for an incredible 103 years. They have used the same spot since 1924. Roy Dutrow worked for the grange in the 1920s making wooden tent floors.

“There used to be food vendors in this row, but in 1924, they added this row of tents,” said Barry Dutrow in a previous interview. “Pap asked if he could have the first one in the row and he got it.”

Barry Dutrow’s grandchildren are the fifth generation of the family to use their tent.

Grange Fair secretary Darlene Confer said a Grange Fair app has been created for smartphones, which will help users to keep track of the many fair events’ times and locations and help the fair committee to conduct surveys of fair visitors. The app is available for iOS and Android.

She noted that the fair will have a health walk, to walk off some of that famous but fattening fair food, a 5K running race, a celebrity chef farm to table event and a strongest man/woman contest this year.

Grange Fair, one of the Centre County’s greatest traditions, is beginning for the 145th time. The fair features 1,000 tents and 1,500 campers on the grounds, and officially runs from Aug. 16 through Aug. 24.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

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