The annual Kempton Country Fair, celebrating its 60th year, kicked off the festivities with a night solely for the annual Truck and Tractor Pulls on Wednesday, June 11.
Local pullers and New Penn Jersey’s crew of roughly 20 were represented in the Tractor Pull competition. According to John Becker, Vice President of New Penn Jersey, the group hosts about five pulls a year and this event was hosted in conjunction by the Kempton Community Center and the Kempton Country Fair.
Tim Wasser and Donald Bercaw, the President and Vice President of the Kempton Country Fair noted that the fair and community center are separate entities working together to provide the community with this event. The fair is part of the Pennsylvania State Association of Country Fairs as well as the International Association of Fairs and Expos.
“The fair is an educational experience for non-farming people,” said Wasser.
Bercaw added, “Agricultural education. That’s the purpose of the fairs. We want to bring the rural and the city together, basically.”
“The theme of the fair season this year is ‘treasuring memories,’ and you know, one of the best memories I have is watching a kid touch a cow for the first time and get that experience,” said Wasser.
Many event-goers had their own memories to share. “Every year at this time my family comes out to enjoy the fair,” said Karen Heiter, of Kempton. Her son Eli, 22, said, “I have fun here .”
Steve Day, 45, of Fleetwood, was there with his wife and son and agreed. “I like it,” he said. “We come to watch the tractor pulls, the little one likes to watch them.”
“We’ve got a lot going on here, trying to bring the community back to the community center,” said Rob Hunt, 53, the President of the Kempton Community Center. As for the conjunctive work with the Fair? “So far, so good,” said Hunt.
Kempton native Sandra Wessner, a member of the Community Center Board of Directors, agreed. “It’s awesome,” she said. “The organization works hard to provide good community events to benefit the community and the youth.”
Other projects they’re currently working on include raising money to upgrade the playground in Kempton, fix the tennis courts and renovate the soccer and baseball fields. She also noted that they host “a lot of live music events” at the Kempton Music Center.
The pullers themselves were happy with the setup but a bit dismayed by the weather.
“At least it’s not raining right now,” said Kutztown’s Mike Moatz, who placed 4th in the 5500 lb. class. “Next Saturday we’re going to Walnutport to compete, we try to hit two of these pulls a month.”
Becker said, “The rain’s holding us back, but otherwise we have a good track, good equipment and a good crew of volunteers.”
His New Penn Jersey associates agreed. Shane Fulmer of Nazareth won the 5500 class. “We come every year. It’s a nice place.” How did he feel about winning? “It makes you proud of the work and money you put in, and you know, we’re all here to have fun.”
His cousin Zach competed in the 7500 class and concurred. “It’s a great place to pull. It’s a good facility and there are fun people to work with. The only thing that kind hurts us is the weather. We’re here for two more nights and we’re looking for strong crowds and some good pulling action.”
The Tractor Pulls were canceled on the first official night of the fair, June 12, due to rain, but may be rescheduled sometime in July.