HARFORD TOWNSHIP — The Harford Fair in Susquehanna County is made possible this year in part by the new way of life in the northern tier: natural gas companies.
It’s proof that even a fair with roots in agriculture is now getting a lot of money from the gas industry.
The Harford Fair has dozens of sponsors helping pay the costs to run the fair and provide all kinds of entertainment, but fair officials say the sponsors paying the most are from the natural gas industry.
A lot of fair goers we talked with say that makes sense.
A chainsaw carving presentation at the Harford Fair has a sign showing the sponsor: Carizzo Oil and Gas.
The show “K9s in Flight” was drawing quite a crowd and all the dogs and their tricks: sponsored by Southwestern Energy.
The Harford Fair is still mostly about agriculture. There are still animals on display all over the place. Shows and competitions representing this county’s rich farming past are also still popular.
But the biggest money maker in this county is now natural gas and fair officials are tapping into it. The companies are paying up to $5,000 each.
“It’s a big thing and it’s all over our county, all over our area,” said fair official Cindy Reynolds. “And it’s a good thing.”
The gas industry names are everywhere because once the state started cutting funding to state fairs, the Harford Fair started going after more sponsors. Now the biggest sponsors are with the gas industry.
“The Harford Fair in its 101st year is just a prime example of who we can partner with to be part of the community. They’re going to draw thousands of people here this week and we like being able to interact with them and be able to talk with them,” said William Desrosiers of Cabot Oil and Gas.
Cabot Oil and Gas is a sponsor and has a display at the fair.
The fair now represents the county as a whole, natural gas mixed in with farming. There’s even a natural gas drilling rig visible from the fairgrounds.
“It’s all here, but the gas is here and it’s going to be here to stay. People have to accept it and support it,” said George Zukas from Lanesboro.
Of course, not everyone supports natural gas drilling but what about the natural gas industry supporting this big community event?
“How can anyone donating to help a fair, how can that not be a positive thing, totally?” asked Missy Ragantesi of Forest Lake Township
Fair organizers say money raised from fair attendance just isn’t enough to cover all the fair expenses. They say the sponsors, including those from the natural gas industry, really do make a lot of the fun possible.