BLOOMSBURG, Pa.- On Oct. 26, the bucolic town of Bloomsburg welcomes an annual excitement, the Bloomsburg Fair. The fair has been going on for 160 years. According to the Bloomsburg Fair website, this year it drew 363,977 patrons from Columbia County and all over the world to partake in fried foods, rides, live music and other attractions. It is a significant source of revenue for Bloomsburg.

Although the clientele is diverse, reasons for going to the fair seem to be the same. “I go [to the fair] to eat as much unhealthy food as my wallet will allow me and also to people watch,” says Jess Quesenberry, a Bloomsburg University student who has gone to the fair multiple times over the past three years. Quesenberry explains that every year, she gets a chocolate peanut butter milkshake, onion rings and fried Oreos.

Another fairgoer told reporters “I pretty much went for the food.” Tom Moser, a Bloomsburg student who resides locally in Natalie, PA, has been going to the fair since he was a child. He states, “I like to experience the different types of food and experience the different ways people act.”

This liminal space gives rise to some atypical sights and behaviors; a snake lady and the world’s largest rat share space with kids trying to win giant stuffed toys and couples kissing on the sky ride.

Although this year’s weather forecast was less than ideal, the rain has not dampened the spirits of fairgoers. When asked if the weather had changed her fair experience, one woman continued to dance furiously to live music, saying “Dance in the rain!”

In an interview with Dom Ferraro, a fair goer who hails from Philadelphia, PA, Ferraro explains that despite the rainy weather this year, he still attended the fair with his friends. His interview is available here:

For those who missed out on this year’s fair or had hoped for more temperate weather, next year’s fair week begins the third Saturday after Labor Day.

Tom Moser and Jess Quesenberry sit on a bench eating fair fare
Tom Moser and Jess Quesenberry enjoy fried Oreos at the fair

More information about the Bloomsburg Fair:

Oral Histories from the Bloomsburg Fair

Bloomsburg Fair website

Video feed of fairgrounds