The 164th Bloomsburg Fair has the first queen in its history.
Nicolette Cusate of Danville, a 2019 graduate of Columbia-Montour Area Vocational-Technical School, was crowned in June.
Cusate said her mother saw an advertisement about the queen and urged her to get involved.
“She (her mother) said ‘You have to try. You never know what will happen.’ I submitted my essay and application, and on June 23 was the actual pageant competition. It consisted of an interview, a speech and impromptu question, and lots of stress, being on my toes and thinking on my feet,” she said.
Cusate, a freshman student at Penn State Behrend in Erie, where her intended major is agriculture extension and education with a minor in chemistry, is proud to be the fair’s first queen.
“For the last 164 years, the Bloomsburg Fair has been connecting people with agriculture, and it is my honor to be an ambassador for such a great fair and work with an amazing group of people,” Cusate said during a recent media preview at the fairgrounds.
She has enjoyed her queen duties.
“My fair program is unique, because I get crowned two months before the fair,” she said. “Most fair queens get crowned the Sunday before the fair starts.”
She has done a lot of promotional work since being crowned, which included attending other fairs.
“The week of the fair, I will be presenting awards, attending different events, taking pictures. It’s going to be a very busy week, but I am looking forward to seeing everyone. My fair hasn’t even started yet, and it has been so much fun,” she said.
Elaine A. Woodland, president and CEO of First Keystone Bank, the sponsor of the queen, said Cusate was a good choice for the first queen.
“She was active in various clubs in school, chapter president of FFA (Future Farmers of America),” Woodland said. “Her volunteer service to the community includes the American Legion auxiliary and cemetery veteran flag placement. Recently, she began her journey toward more education and providing education becoming an agriculture and extension educator.”
What started out as a one-day fair in downtown Bloomsburg has grown into an eight-day, action-packed, fun- and food-filled event hosting close to 400,000 people a year, said Paul Reichart, fair president.
One event debuting this year is karaoke at Millenium Park, at the eastern end of the fairgrounds.
“I think it is lined up to have 22 microphones. We will have a professional person there to head it up,” Reichart said.
Other new features of the fair include grape stomping, two new demolition derbies, and new mascots.
Brian Campbell, who is in charge of agriculture, said the farm museum is being converted to a new use.
“There’s not a lot of machinery left in that farm museum,” he said. “So we’re working on transitioning the farm machinery down to the historic area where we believe it belongs. With that transition, the farm museum is being left open. We brought in some wine vendors, and we are making it a family wine area. We’ve got a lot of education, with grapes and crushing. We’re going to have some grape juice for the kids. We’re also going to have a grape stomp contest.”
The first contest, at 3 p.m. Friday, will feature Reichart versus former fair president Fred Trump. There will be stomps scheduled for each evening, Campbell said.
“There are two bags, one has a set of boxers, and the other has a Speedo,” Campbell said. “They will choose which outfit they will wear.”
“It’s not going to happen,” Reichart joked.
Brian Wawroski, who is in charge of the grandstand, said there will be two demolition derbies, a figure-8 race, and a truck and tractor pull, and a host of good entertainers.
Joey Young, who took over the demo derbies, said there will be 30 events for people from age 4 to the upper 60s.
“We have a lot of soccer moms, so we are going to have a minivan and SUV demo derby,” Young said. “So strap your helmet on and let’s play. We were missing a lot of opportunity by not being family friendly so new this year, we are having a kids’ power wheels derby for ages 4 to 10 with battery-powered cars you don’t ride on. They did the first one in Lycoming County, and within five days, the video on You Tube had 1 million views. Modified trucks and minivans will be on Wednesday and Saturday, every division of car from ’60s Imperials to mid 2000s Ford Fusions.”
Included in the entertainment on the free stage will be Hazleton’s ’70s Flashback band on Friday and Saturday, and another new act.
“I think we have a great lineup on the free stage,” Wawroski said. “At Millenium Park, we have an act coming in called the Marvelous Muts. They’re all rescued dogs, and they put on a great act.”
Deborah N. Coleman, secretary to the board of directors, said livestock is “full of entries from local and not-so-local people.”
“In 2018, we had 13,792 entries. That includes horticulture, agriculture, arts and crafts, livestock, rabbits and poultry, 4-H and education,” Coleman said. “If you haven’t done it before, I would suggest you do it. It’s fun to see something you created or you grew on exhibit. You can earn premiums for your entries. In 2018, we awarded $100,857 in premiums. At least come see them in the buildings and the livestock area.”
The theme of the fair’s Garden Club will be “Winter Wonderland.” Proceeds from the sale of mums and plants at auction goes to different charities. Last year, over $4,000 was donated from their sale.
Synergizing technology and health in the community is the theme of the high school STEM competition. Nine schools are participating, at 2 p.m. Sept. 25. There will be three cash prizes — $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 — to improve the STEM programs at the schools.
Geisinger will unveil four new mascots for the fair. Also, its new, solar-powered Mobile Health Services bus will be on display at Millenium Park all week. This vehicle will be used as a respite and hydration station for tired or overheated fairgoers.
Geisinger’s pediatric dental hygienists will be providing dental education and giving away toothbrushes.
In the arts and crafts building, Geisinger personnel will be issuing free flu shots and blood pressure screenings. There will also be a baby changing station and breastfeeding room. Last year, 4,300 free flu shots were provided.
It will be the last year the World War II Stuart tank will be on display for a few years, because after the fair, it will be going in for a multi-year complete mechanical restoration.
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If you go
Sept. 23 — Seniors Day
Sept. 24 — Geisinger Wellness presentation, 7 p.m. at Sunset Arena.
Sept. 25 — STEM competition, 2 p.m.; Modified trucks and minivan demo derby.
Sept. 27 —’70s Flashback Band at free stage at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sept. 28 — Demo derby for every division of car from ’60s Imperials to mid-2000s Ford Fusions; ’70s Flashback Band at free stage at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
All during the fair
Geisinger’s new 41-foot, solar-powered Mobile Health Services bus in Millenium Park will give fair-goers a cool, new location for any scrapes or bruises they may have while enjoying activities. A dental hygenist will also be on board to provide dental education and free toothbrushes.
In the arts and crafts building, Geisinger will be providing free flu shots, blood pressure screenings, a changing station and breastfeeding room
All other questions can be answered by visiting www.bloomsburgfair.com.