Michael Kelley builds the frame for the kitchen area of the tent during Grange Fair move-in Sunday at the fairgrounds in Centre Hall. Phoebe Sheehan psheehan@centredaily.com
Michael Kelley builds the frame for the kitchen area of the tent during Grange Fair move-in Sunday at the fairgrounds in Centre Hall. Phoebe Sheehan psheehan@centredaily.com

Penns Valley

Grange families reunite as they move into the fairgrounds

August 13, 2017 11:15 PM

The early bird catches the worm — but if that worm was found anywhere near the Grange fairgrounds this weekend, then he probably had to wait in line.

It’s a simple truth that Travis Sherman learned a long time ago, courtesy of his father and grandfather, who must have thought that slipping into Centre Hall during the early morning hours would help them avoid the avoid the gridlock common in these parts come mid-August.

They were mistaken.

“You’d sit in a line going all the way to Centre Hall Mountain,” Sherman said.

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You’d sit in a line going all the way to Centre Hall Mountain.

Travis Sherman

He waited until about an hour past noon on Sunday to begin moving his wife and daughter into their tent, a handsome spot not too far a walk from a french fry truck.

They were following the same basic routine as the rest of the Grange movers and shakers, a process that would not be altogether unfamiliar to anyone who has ever had to move or help move into a college dorm.

The folks in the tent across the street were busy running a broom through a cursory sweep of the premises, while around the corner, a man asked his neighbors for some help carrying a large area rug into place.

As for the Shermans, their belongings stuck pretty closely to tradition — a futon, a mini-fridge, really anything that you’d need to unwind after a long day of Frisbee on the quad.

“We’ll probably bring one more pickup load over on Wednesday,” Sherman said.

Sherman and his family have been camping at the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair since the late 1960’s or early ’70’s — he himself only came along 29 years ago.

We will be here probably every day until it’s over.

Jackie Decker

Legacies at the fair run strong among the endless rows of campers located closer to the equine facilities.

Jackie Decker and her husband intend on passing down their perch on the grass to their children one day.

“I came here with my parents and I come every year,” Decker said.

In the meantime, everyone — the Deckers, their two children and four grandsons — will be getting very well acquainted inside the new family RV, a recent upgrade from the pop-up camper, which itself was an improvement over a 24-foot pull-behind trailer.

Decker estimates that her fresh set of wheels can comfortably sleep seven people, making it the hub of all their Grange Fair activities.

“We will be here probably every day until it’s over,” Decker said.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready