Sights and sizzles of the fair

Warren County Zem Zem Hornets Vice President Rick Dies (left) and President Wenzel Soliday work the grill for the Zem Zem’s sausage and steak sandwich booth last year. The stand, which won an award  for its food, has been serving fairgoers for 40 years.

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Warren County — After a record breaking 2021 fair, the Warren County Fair returns this coming week for the 2022 fair, and according to Dale Bliss, director of the fair board, he expects this year’s fair to be the best one yet.

“Last year in 2021 we came back with full steam and recorded one of our best attended fairs,” said Bliss. “At the end of the fair we recognized that momentum, and our shift was to continue that for 2022.”

The fair officially starts on Tuesday, and runs through Saturday. However, Bliss said that the fun really starts Monday night, with the pre-fair day. With all the vendors set up, and the deep friers ready to provide all the fair treats fair-goers have come to love, anyone can come and enjoy the fairgrounds free of charge on Monday night.

After months of work, Bliss said that the fair board is excited to see people back at the fairgrounds. He said the fair atmosphere is what he loves the most about the week, and seeing people have a good time.

“One thing about the fair, what we to do, is bring communities together. This is a week of positives,” he said. “This fair represents these communities and fair week is when we see the best that this area has to offer. The pay off for our 21 directors is seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces.”

This year’s fair is set to include everything area residents have come to expect. There will be games, rides, food, live entertainment and plenty of agricultural exhibitors. Bliss said the fair board can finally take a sigh of relief, as it was not an easy task putting all the puzzle pieces together.

For months, the fair board was preparing to hold a fair without any ride vendors, after their previous vendor decided to move onto bigger fairs. “As of April we thought there would be no carnival,” said Bliss.

During the eleventh hour, a solution was found in the form of Penn Valley Shows. The fair board was able to secure a contract with the new company allowing for games, concessions and fair food to return to the fair.

Fun at the fair

The midway of the 2021 Warren County Fair was full of people, and the fair hopes those people will be back this year.

“You will have to wait and see what they bring, but there will be a lot of new stuff this year,” said Bliss.

New attractions for this year’s fair aren’t limited to just the carnival. This year’s fair will feature a petting zoo and pony rides for kids. For the adults, ATV flat rack racing is back, and will be free to view for those who have paid for entry. All the motorsports events will be returning too this year, including the famous stock car football, which takes place Saturday night.

“The sites and sounds of the cars will be back in full force,” said Bliss. Some new sounds will be the modified tractor pull which added the multi engine modified engine class for the first time in recent years. The modified truck and tractor pull will take place Friday night.

On the entertainment front, the fair board wanted to build on the full crowds that bands like Diamond Rio and Rockland Road had last year. Bliss was happy to say that there are musical acts for people of all interests and ages.

Travis Denning, a “new country” artist, will kick off the live entertainment on Tuesday night. Are residents are in for a treat too, as Denning just released a new EP.

“Fairgoers will be the first to hear some of his new songs live,” said Bliss.

Wednesday will see the Kentucky Head Hunters take the stage to play what Bliss called, “some country music with an edge to it.” The last of the live entertainment will see Blue Morning Recreating the Music of Foreigner. Bliss said the band will be “fun for the younger audience and classic rock lovers.” The three shows are free with fair admission.

Many fairgoers come for the food, rides and entertainment. That being said, Bliss said the mission of the fair is to promote the agricultural heritage of the area, and the youth that come to show their animals.

“We are loaded with animals this year,” said Bliss. For many, the county fair is their Superbowl, a chance to showcase year-long efforts and have some good old fashioned competition.

“For a lot of area farmers, this is their chance to showcase, as well as the kids, what they have worked on all year, and to compete,” he said. The livestock sale will take place on Friday night.

No matter what brings you to the fair, Bliss said that the food will be something that will keep you there.

“I have a PHD in fair food,” he said.

The nonprofits will be out in full force selling their goods, as well as fair vendors who are there to bring some of the greasy food that is associated with the fair. For Bliss, he likes to try a bit of everything.

“I start with hot sausages from the Zem Zem’s, then I top that off with ice cream from the Warren County Farm Bureau, before getting a salad from the Salvation Army and all the cotton candy and funnel cakes I can eat,” he said.

“Just remember, there are no calories during fair week,” he said.

The full schedule of events can be found on the fair’s website, WarrenCountyFair.Net. Information can also be found on the fair’s Facebook page. Tickets can be purchased at the gate, but there is a reduced price if you purchase gate passes in advance.

Dvorkin can be reached by email at Gdvorkin@titusvilleherald.com.

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