See Stillmeadow Crossing’s room filling model trains, tracks and scenery that took seven hours to put together. It’s bigger than its ever been.
Cameron Clark, York Daily Record
But this weekend’s forecast is promising, so people have another chance at funnel cakes, rides and entertainment.
Mother Nature can be your best friend or your worst enemy during the 10 days of the York Fair, said Lance Ness, owner of the Mary’s Famous Steaks stand.
Last year, the weather on the weekends was beautiful, and attendance was good, he said.
This year, though, it has been overcast or rainy for much of the fair, keeping the crowds light on some days. Remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon brought heavy rain on Sunday, prompting the fair to open its gates for free to draw customers in.
“It’s just been a rough one,” Ness said.
Attendance numbers will not be available until Tuesday, said Brianna Holmes, a spokeswoman for the York Fair. She said nothing had been canceled because of the weather.
Michael Froehlich, CEO of the York Expo Center and the fair, could not be reached for comment.
During a previous interview, Froehlich said weather plays an important role in attendance. The management counts on the two Saturdays to draw people in because the fair is more of a weekend and evening event. Even a mention of rain can affect it.
Patrons and vendors say the fair attracted a nice crowd on opening day, and concert-goers packed the grandstand for the contemporary Christian band, MercyMe, on Tuesday night. A line snaked through Gourmet Lane as fans waited to get inside, Ness said.
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The towering Ferris wheel provides unparalleled views of the 2018 York Fair. The annual tradition of fun, food and entertainment wraps up Sunday, with gates opening at 11 a.m. (Photo: Cameron Clark, York Daily Record)
Despite the overcast skies and rain, some people came out anyway to enjoy the food, rides and entertainment.
Jen Roberts of Spring Grove watched as her three children rode rides on Wednesday evening. It was her only day off work this week, so they were coming rain or shine, she said.
She told her children that even if it did rain, there would still be plenty to do inside, such seeing the farm animals and other displays.
“We’ve been here since they opened today,” she said. “They’re having a blast.”
Theresa DeGroat of York said that Wednesday was her third visit to the York Fair this year.
And a crowd packed the fair on opening day, because it was nice, she said. It was slow during the day on Tuesday, but then it was busy at night. She thinks people were waiting to see if the rain held off.
Lyn Bergdoll, executive director of The Belmont Theatre, formerly known as the York Little Theatre, said she’s amazed at how well things are going, despite the weather.
The theater partnered with the Roosevelt Tavern this year. In addition to the traditional steak sandwiches, customers can buy crab soup.
Mindi Koehler, owner of Bob & Min’s, said business has been off.
“Clearly, the weather has not been good to bring people out,” she said.
Koehler said she had a decent day on Sunday when the fair management made admission free because of the heavy rain. She thinks that helped.
“…even with the ugly weather, the people did come out, because it was free admission,” she said.
Some like to come and eat at local stands, she said. Koehler, a York County native, moved to Tennessee seven years ago, but she still comes back to run the stand every year.
She hoped the weather would hold out for the last weekend of the fair.
Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in North Carolina Friday morning, could bring rain to York County, but that’s not expected until early next week. The fair closes Sunday night.
To have such a gloomy week in September is unusual, said Eric Horst, director of the Weather Information Center at Millersville University.
“It’s just been a strange summer,” he said.
More: Where is Hurricane Florence now? Check this tracker for latest projected path
Conditions will slowly improve through the weekend, and Sunday is expected to be the nicest day, Horst said.
Saturday, the skies will brighten as the day wears on, with the sun peeking out. Temperatures will rise to near 80 degrees.
The sun is expected to return for the last day of the fair with highs in the low 80s.
“… we’re looking forward to a great weekend,” the fair spokeswoman said in an email.
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