Community Fights Flood for Fair

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WAYNE TOWNSHIP, Pa. --Organizers say this year's Schuylkill County Fair almost didn't happen because of Mother Nature.

The fairgrounds were four feet underwater after strong rains. Fair officials tell Newswatch 16 a storm earlier this month brought them inches of water within hours and Bear Creek overflowed and destroyed some of the fair's infrastructure.

Luckily, thanks to the community, the fair was able to open Monday night for its 35th birthday.

With less than a month until fair time, floodwaters devastated the Schuylkill County fairgrounds making those who work at the fair uneasy about its future.

"With all the damage, just the amount of devastation that took place here and just like how are we going to do it in such short time?" said volunteer Danielle Boris.

Fair president Paul Kennedy says a few weeks ago, a heavy downpour caused the creek that runs through the fairgrounds to overflow.

"We had four and a half feet of water in our office and facilities complex. It was just everywhere. The midway, the bridge behind us, the bridge on the lower side," Kennedy recalled.

Volunteers and outside help made this year's run possible.

"There was between 25 to 50 volunteers working through that weekend just to get the immediate damage of the flood under control and then teams of volunteers have been working almost every day since that day to put this back together just so we could open," said Kennedy.

A section of the fairgrounds usually reserved for vendors is closed because of flood damage. Organizers tell Newswatch 16 that flood was not the only obstacle in the fair's way.

"Back several weeks, we had the ash borer which killed about 40, 50 trees," said volunteer Francis Vidzicky.

Those trees were removed by volunteers for fair-goers safety.

Organizers say they are thankful for the support from the community

"We weren't going to let anything stop us, not even four feet of water, not even mud up to our knees. We were going to do what we had to do. We came together. We got it done, and here we are today to celebrate our 35 years."

The organizers stressed that they want to thank everyone who volunteered their time to make this year's Schuylkill County Fair possible. They say without their help this fair could not have gone on.

The Schuylkill County Fair runs through Saturday.

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