History Of The Kimberton Community Fair

The Kimberton Community Fair was first held in 1929.  It was the chartering year of the Kimberton Fire Company, and the Fair was held as a fund-raiser to support the volunteer department's fire truck and equipment needs.  The Fair has been held every year since, with the exception of one year during World War II.  Today the Fair is the Fire Company's single largest revenue producing event - turning over an average of $100,00 each year.  This money enables the volunteer firefighters to operate and maintain a state-of-the-art fire department to service East Pikeland, West Pikeland, Charlestown, East Vincent and West Vincent Townships with fire protection.

The first Fair was held in a meadow known as Supio's Field.  That tract of land is now known as the Powder Mill housing development along Route 113.  By 1938, the Fire Company had purchased ten acres of land in downtown Kimberton, and the Fair moved to its new and current location.  The original ten acres still serves as the Fair's carnival midway.

During the next few years, additional land was purchased, and buildings were erected to house livestock.  By 1970, the Fair had grown enough to qualify as a "Class A" Fair within the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fair's guidelines.  Class "A" Fairs are an annual agricultural event which operates on 40 acres or more of land and pays a set amount in premiums to winners of agricultural or agribusiness contests or exhibits.  This placed Kimberton Community Fair among the ranks of York, Allentown, and Bloomsburg Fairs.  The Fair Committee published a catalog which promoted contests in gardening, canning, baking, sewing and needlework, in addition to the dairy cattle, sheep and goat competitions.  This in turn increased attendance, and enabled the Fair to receive important state funding from the Department of Agriculture for operating and improvement expenses.  In 1972 the Fair paid out $6,600 in prize money.  That amount steadily increased; and nowadays the Fair pays out over $15,000 in premiums to exhibitors!

Up to 1980, the Fair had operated its event for 10 days.  But with more men and women working full-time jobs outside the home, the length of the Fair took its toll on the volunteers.  So in 1980 the decision was made to cut back the Fair to just 6 days of operation.

Today the Kimberton Fair operates on 42 acres of land, some of which is rented from the community during Fair Week.  It is one of the few remaining "free" fairs in the State, charging no entry fee for any of its events or shows.  The only collection taken is a free-will donation for parking.  Average attendance for the entire week is approximately 40,000 visitors from Chester, Montgomery, Buck, Berks and Lancaster Counties.  The Fairgrounds consist of a midway packed with over 25 amusement rides, various carnival games, and food stands offering such tempting delicacies as french fries, funnel cake and steak sandwiches.  There are now four livestock buildings and a covered show ring area for the livestock competitions.  The upper end of the Fairgrounds attracts visitors with its Donut Kitchen, two refreshment centers, Birch Beer stand and picnic grove area.  The Fire House building is temporarily transformed during Fair week into Exhibit space for both competitive home/garden arts and commercial displays.

Our Fair is more than just a midway of rides and games.  Our unique contests and exhibits bring an extra flavor to the event.   Our goal is to create an atmosphere where visitors of all ages can participate in some way in our Fair.  We hold pie eating contests for youth and log sawing skill competitions for adults.  The crowd at our Contest stage goes wild as their cheer on their favorite contestant.  In 1999 we started our very first FAIR QUEEN competition.  This contest is open to girls age 16 20.  The chosen young lady acts as an ambassador for the Fair, and then goes on to compete against 50 other local Fair Queens contestants at a state level competition.  And we were thrilled when our 2000 Fair Queen Julie Sollenberger from Spring City (our 2nd queen ever) went on to win the title of PA State Fair Queen!  Our Competitive Exhibits program offers a variety of contests in both home arts and livestock and agriculture.  This program gives local residents from ages 7 to adult to showcase their talents.  Some of our favorite competitions are the Chocolate baking contests as well as the Blue Ribbon Apple Pie contest.   Exhibitors faithfully return each year to try and win those coveted first place ribbons.  We even offer contests for the smallest of our fairgoers.  Our annual Baby Contest draws a terrific crowd of children ages 3 months to 30 months as well as their parents, grandparents and other family fans.  And who better to organize and run such a contest than mothers from a local MOMS club from Exton!  These dedicated ladies took over the contest in 2002 and did a terrific job of taking the contest to a new level. 

The Fair has been organized and staffed by volunteers since its inception.  Generations of Kimberton families such as the Wilsons, the Yeagers, the Smileys and the Dobsons have continued the tradition by volunteering at the Fair.  Fire Company members operate fundraising stands such as a Soda Ring Toss, Hamburger & Hot Dog food stands, and a Big Six Wheel.   Fire Company Auxiliary members contribute a large portion of the total profit from the sale of their famous homemade donuts.  

Each year, the workers produced and sell over 7,800 dozen (which equates to 94,800 donuts)....now that's a lot of dough!  

But, the Fair is not just a money-making event for the Fire Company.  The Fair also does its part to give back to the community.  Several community groups such as the KYAL, Lions, Kiwanis, local 4-H clubs, churches and other area fire departments participate at the Fair.  Some have their own stands to try and generate revenue for their respective organizations.  Others partner with the Fair by offering volunteer help in exchange for facilities rental.  This partnering has helped provide much needed personnel for our BINGO, Baby Contest and parking attendants. 

With all this growth and expansion, the purpose of the Fair remains the same - support the Fire Company.  Yet the Fair Committee is also committed to upholding the Department of Agriculture's goal to educate and inform people about Pennsylvania's number one industry - Agriculture!  Since many of the region's farm fields have turned into housing developments or shopping centers, and families interest in video games, computers, and television have overshadowed skills such as home canning, vegetable gardens and raising farm animals, the Fair's mission grows more important every year - to educate people.  Where does milk come from?  How do grain crops benefit us?  Where did the yarn come from to make your sweater?  How can recycling and composting improve our environment?  By teaching people, the Fair hopes to create a better respect for and understanding of Pennsylvania's strong agriculture industry - to ensure that it will be around for our grandchildren.

Our Fair is not just another amusement park...the added attractions of agricultural and home art exhibits, fun-filled contests, and livestock shows make it a unique event.  It is one of the few placed where you can bring your whole family and find something to please everyone!  As Kimberton Community Fair begins another year, it continues with a tradition of volunteerism, hard work and dedication - a tradition we hope will be continued for years to come.

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