As we all know, the North East Community Fair, NECF, was cancelled last year due to the uncertainty of COVID-19. I am writing this letter to inform the community that the status of the NECF, held in September each year, is still up in the air.
This year will be the 94th community fair.
The venue has been in the North East High School’s gym because it is a safe community building, affords toilets and clean water for our visitors and is large enough to accommodate our exhibits and activities.
The auditorium has been used for the Grape Queen contest.
Since we use the gym from Monday evening through the end of Saturday, the gym is closed to school and sports use. Fair personnel are on site during school hours during Wednesday through Friday. This seems to have put some folks’ panties into a twist.
The NECF directors are facing significant difficulties from the school administration even prior to the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020. Those difficulties include locking the gym doors so that no fair personnel can enter the lobby where we normally register people’s entries.
We were told it was a security issue during school hours.
I suppose we could find a way to work around that, but, that would mean no access to restrooms or drinking water for the fair visitors and volunteers. Meaning, we would have to supply portable toilets and bottled water.
Being denied use of the school gym? I suppose we have to find a way to work around that too. We could rent large tents and set them up on the school lawn, with the portable toilets close by.
However, as the person in charge of the art department and its many exhibits, most of them on paper, displaying in an outside tent over a period of three to four days is not good for art of any type and I am refusing to do it.
So, I am asking if there is anyone in the community who would like to take over my position. The NECF must meet Pennsylvania State Fair guidelines to receive state funding to cover premiums paid to exhibitors, so dropping the art department is not an option.
If anyone is interested, please attend the first fair board meeting of 2021 on Tuesday, Feb. 16, in the North East Township building at 7 p.m.
North East Community Fair Art Director