Hookstown prepared for biggest week of the year

HOOKSTOWN, Pa. – Driving into Hookstown northbound on the winding, bucolic state Route 168 may be the next best thing to time travel.

It’s easy to imagine what this rural Pennsylvania crossroads looked like 100 years ago because it hasn’t changed all that much.

Similarly, the Hookstown Fair, which opens on Tuesday, is a throwback to an earlier time, when people farmed their land, lived by the seasons and knew where their food came from.

Appropriately, the theme of the 68th annual Hookstown Fair is “Treasure the Memories.”

“Exhibitors can make things in keeping with the theme. A lot of people will decorate their animal stalls according to the theme,” said Hookstown Fair Board member Judy Saver.

New to the fair this year is the FirstEnergy Community Building that will house mostly commercial exhibitors. “We got rid of the tent,” Saver said.

Also of interest, she said, is the Farmer for a Day area, where children who didn’t grow up in the country can learn about farm life, farm animals and farming in general.

“Kids will get the full experience-how to milk a cow, how to gather eggs,” she said. “It’s to teach the city kids that there are farm animals and where their food comes from.”

Children also will be able to learn what real corn, oats and other grains feel like. “We haven’t had anything like that in many years,” she said.

Entertainment in Kiddy Land will be the Nerveless Nocks, a Swiss circus family. They will be at the fair all week – 4, 6 and 8 p.m. weekdays and 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday.

Musical entertainment will include Beaver County natives Don Ellis Gatlin and his band Savannah Jack (7 and 9 p.m. Tuesday), and Darryl Ellis Gatlin in his duo Gatlin (7 and 9 p.m. Thursday).

Although the fair is local to Hookstown, animal exhibitors come from as far away as Washington County and Greene County, Pa. “We have goats coming from the Ohioville area,” Saver said.

Fairgoers will be able to sample some new items from food vendors, including pumpkin funnel cakes and bacon milkshakes, she said.

Opening ceremonies, including the crowning of the fair queen, start at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Princess Pageant starts at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

On Wednesday, senior citizens are admitted free, and special gifts and activities are scheduled for 1 p.m. on the Main Stage, Saver said.

Baking contests for chocolate cake, angel food cake and apple pie will be held on Tuesday. Baked goods entries must conform to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s PA Preferred program, Saver said.

The 4-H Stockman Animal Auction takes place on Friday.