Bringing back the rides

In this flashback to 2017, Braden Cosdello, 12, of Meadville, enjoys a topsy turvy ride with his friend, Emmett Roha, 12, also of Meadville, at the Crawford County Fair.

MEADVILLE — After receiving approval from the Crawford County Commissioners, rides, games and lots of entertainment are back for this year’s Crawford County Fair.

The commissioners approved six contracts at their last meeting, including a contract with a ride company. After a canceled 2020 fair, and a reduced version in 2021, both the fair board and county commissioners are excited to bring a full fair back to Crawford County.

“We are getting it back to the fair everyone knew before COVID,” said Commissioner Francis Weiderspahn.

At Wednesday’s county commissioners meeting, the commissioners approved seven contracts related to the Crawford County Fair. Four of the contracts pertain to entertainment.

The commissioners approved contracts with Derby Dog LLC. for a demolition derby show, NASHHCS Six Horse Hitch for a hitch competition, Full Pull Productions for a tractor pull, Northwest Pennsylvania Truck and Tractor Pullers for a tractor pull and with Main Event Amusements for rides and games.

Fair Board President Dean Maynard was happy to announce the return of rides and games to the fair, as the 2022 Crawford County Fair looks to get back to normal.

The fair board has already announced entertainment through the likes of big time grandstand acts like Darci Lynne, but also other favorites like the free midway acts of the family circus and racing pigs.

Maynard said with the addition of the rides and games coming back to the fair, the fair is looking to grow by bringing back those who love the fair, and bring in some who may have never experienced it.

“This year we want to revive some old favorites and bring in some new ideas,” said Maynard.”

For people like County Commissioner Francis Weiderspahn, all it takes for him to show up to a county fair is some animals. As a farmer, Weiderspahn is very involved with the agricultural portion of the fair, his wife is also a former Four Star Homemaker. However, he admits that not all county residents are like he and his family, and other activities draw them to the fairgrounds.

Weiderspahn said that when the commissioners approved the contracts last week, it now leads the way for everyone to enjoy the fair.

“The Crawford County fair has always been known for great agriculture,” he said. “But, people come for the atmosphere, the rides, games, concerts, they come to see the Ferris wheel lit up at night.”

Weiderspahn said that the bright lights, fried food and loud music, combined with the agriculture and home goods parts of the fair, “is what makes a fair a fair.”

One concern with bringing back rides to the fair was cost. Speaking before the 2021 fair at a meeting in April, Maynard had said that the contract for rides was $130,000 a year, and that the fair recouped maybe half of that money. The new ride contract is for between $80-85,000 a year. Maynard called this contract “much more manageable.”

The commissioners and fair board directors have been looking at ways to continue offering entertainment to fairgoers, while also making sure they can continue to offer a fair.

This year there has been an emphasis on getting fair finances in place. Previously the fair has been an event that has lost money every year, the county is hoping to at least break even, but would love to see the fair make some money and be sustainable.

Weiderspahn said that the commissioners and fair board are “on the same page” that the fair could not continue down the path it was headed, and that changes needed to be made. With the new contracts in place, Weiderspahn said that the fair is on the way to being profitable and staying alive.

“We have the fair headed in a direction where it can be sustainable,” said Weiderspahn.

Maynard said that the fair board has been working on finding ways to get the fair to be more sustainable, and said that efforts taken so far have been successful. He said that the fair board has been good at cutting costs, and has been working with the county.

This year’s county wide fair theme is “Working Together to to Keep the Tradition Alive.” Maynard said that in Crawford County, that theme has really hit home, as both the fair board and county commissioners have been hard at work to make this year’s fair not only a great fair, but also one that does not drain the coffers.

This year will see a six-day fair come to the county, which is shorter than what the county is used to.

“There is a lot returning, and new new things too, but we want to bounce back strong this year,” said Maynard.

More information on the fair can be found on Facebook, at the page Crawford County Fair PA, the fair can also be reached by email at

Dvorkin can be reached by email at

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