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Pennsylvania promoting agricultural fairs

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pennsylvania may cut funding to state fairs.
Pennsylvania may cut funding to state fairs.

Pennsylvania's department of agriculture has published the 2009 Pennsylvania Fair Guide listing 116 fairs this summer and fall. The state hopes to attract tourism while promoting its agricultural economy.

"Pennsylvania fairs are an important part of our unique heritage and attract six million visitors each year to amusement rides, entertainment and agriculture," said agriculture secretary Dennis Wolff.

Fairs have a long tradition in rural America, showcasing arts and crafts as well as produce, livestock and farm equipment and tractor pulls. Currently there are 36 fairs in Pennsylvania of at least 100 years and four fairs running for more than 200 years.

Wolf said some of fairs featured in the guide are in danger of being canceled or downsized because of the state senate-passed budget plan that eliminates state fair funding. Already, the Mt. Nebo Grange Fair in Ohio Township, Allegheny County, was called off last month in anticipation of zero state funding.

The budget proposed by the governor included $2 million in state funding for fairs, which was cut in the senate budget plan.

"Many fairs rely on state funding to operate," said Wolff. "Unfortunately, with this funding in jeopardy, some fairs may not be able to function this year at all."
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