SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Northeastern and central Pennsylvania has a rich history of community and county fairs. It now has a new fair to add to the list.  Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller stopped in Scranton on Wednesday to check out an inaugural fair that’s been years in the making.

They’re ready at Montage Mountain Resort to greet an anticipated crowd of more than 20,000 people for the inaugural Lackawanna County Heritage Fair. Before all of the family fun, a ribbon cutting ceremony marked the start of this five day fair which is the first of the season throughout northeastern and central Pennsylvania. “No fair can compete with what we’re giving them. A water slide park, rides and the musical entertainment. That’s all in their ten dollar price to get inside the doors,” said Lackawanna County Commissioner Pat O’Malley. He conceived of this fair in 2013. After years of planning, it’s finally a reality. 

Mary Kovaleski of Richmondale brought her young grandchildren Scarlett and Jack to be among the first fairgoers to check it out. “I think it’s really nice. It’s something to do. Back in my day, we went to the carnival. We had so much fun. And now they have something to look forward to, too,” she said.

Dozens of vendors are on hand operating rides and games. Since it is open rain or shine. they hope for, what else, fair weather for a big crowd. “Just make sure that they walk away happy so whenever the weather is nice they can let all the other people know that it was worth coming to and having a fine experience at,” said game vendor Yalenski Solano of Allentown. 

There’s no shortage of food — from ethnic favorites to typical fair food and everything in between. One of the food vendors is Queen of the Apostles Church in Avoca. It is running a ‘make your own strawberry shortcake’ stand. Not only is this an opportunity for church volunteers to be part of history, but also it gives them a chance to help their parish finances.

Fair organizers say the goal of this inaugural event is to celebrate Lackawanna County’s heritage but the plan is to grow it. “We’re going to eventually qualify as a state agricultural fair. That will take us three to five years,” said Lackawanna County Fair & Recreation Authority Chairman Armand Olivetti. And carve out an annual tradition.

Admission is ten dollars per person to attend the Lackawanna County Heritage Fair which runs daily through Sunday, June 2.

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