BY DAVID ANDERSON, firstname.lastname@example.org
9:04 AM EDT, July 9, 2013
Although local weather reports showed a chance for rain, the skies remained clear for the opening night of this week's 15th annual Mason-Dixon Fair in Delta, Pa.
The Mason-Dixon line historically refers to the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania, established during the colonial era, and this week's fair took place at the Mason-Dixon Fairgrounds, within spitting distance of a sign welcoming motorists to Maryland.
The fair began Sunday with an afternoon horse show, and Monday was the first night rides opened on the midway.
The rides opened at 5 p.m., and the crowd grew as dark settled. Fair-goers could also take in tractor pull contests, take a helicopter ride over the fairgrounds, see prize-winning farm animals and produce, watch children and youths compete for the titles of Fair Princess, Little Miss Dixon and Mr. Mason, Fair Queen and Jr. Miss Fair Queen, take part in an auction for pies and other baked treats, fill up on the traditional fair foods and more.
Deb Saling was also recognized as the fair ambassador by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
"I'm very pleased with tonight," fair President Jeff Griffith said while watching the action of the auction. "It was a good crowd for a Monday night."
The midway will be open each night from 5 to 11 p.m. through Friday, and visitors can ride all the rides they want for $17 each.
The midway will be open at 2 p.m. Saturday for Family Day.
More information about rides and other events, which include a firefighter's parade, fireworks and more tractor pulls, can be found online at http://www.masondixonfair.com.
Rich and Missy Wurzbach of Brogue, Pa., looked over fruits and vegetables decorated with ribbons. Their children were at the fair to exhibit cattle, but the fair was also an opportunity to learn about skills such as canning.
Over the years, the Wurzbachs' children have entered in about 70 categories in the Mason-Dixon Fair, including animals, produce, even wild plants.
"It's fun and they can identify certain plants from entering at the fair," Missy Wurzbach said.
The fair brought Marylanders and Pennsylvanians together at the state line.
Chandra Groff of Abingdon went down the Fun Slide with her 2-year-old son, J.J.
"I heard there were a lot of kiddie rides, and I wanted to bring him on his first ride adventure," she said of her son. "We're practicing for Ocean City [Boardwalk rides]."
Beth Painter of Dallastown, Pa., sharpened her shooting skills at the shooting gallery, a new game on the midway.
"Oh that was pretty cool," she said of the shooting gallery. "It fits down in this neck of the woods [where hunting and shooting is popular]."
Painter came to the fair Monday with her husband, Bill, and 5-year-old daughter, Taylor, and said the Mason-Dixon Fair is part of an eight-week odyssey of visiting fairs around York County.
"For the next eight weeks, we're just going to the fair," she said.
Engines roared as tractor drivers competed to see who could pull a roughly 4,500-pound farming sled the farthest along a dirt track.
Qualifying rounds were set up for youths and adults, but adults and youths competed in the same round in some cases.
Makiah Crawford, 12, of Quarryville, Pa., competed against the adult Fred Frock of Rising Sun in Cecil County. They drove 1,000-pound tractors with 20-horsepower engines.
"It's pretty fun just pulling, going down the track," Makiah said.
Each driver dragged the heavy sled behind his tractor, and leaned back as the vehicle eventually strained against the weight and had to stop.
"I pull back because it [takes] me farther, and it pushes the tractor ahead," Makiah explained. "That's why I do that."
The fair is put on by the Delta-Cardiff Volunteer Fire Company, and is staffed by a number of volunteers.
Joey Webster of Bel Air, who has been volunteering for eight years at the fair, was stationed at the front gate, stamping patrons' hands.
"It's the best fair ever," he said.