LEHMAN TWP. — Michelle Vinnacombe carefully scanned through winning artwork hung on the walls of an exhibit building, searching for her two daughters’ entrees at opening night of the Luzerne County Fair.
“We have entered their artwork the last two or three years,” Vinnacombe, of Dallas, said.
The 54th annual Luzerne County Fair, located on Route 118 in Lehman Township, opened its gates at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The fair will run through Sunday.
Vinnacombe and her family were some of the early guests who came to scope out the exhibits and attractions before the crowds formed.
“The kids love the rides and the food,” she said.
Fair admission is $10. Children who are 2 years old and younger are admitted free. On Thursday, the entry fee for senior citizens is $5. Sunday is Family Fun Day where children ages 3 to 12 will be admitted for $6.
Numerous carnival rides offer a variety of thrills for guests, including a challenge to see how long fairgoers can stay on “Slinger,” a mechanical bull.
Outside the bullring, a white dry-erase board charts the time records achieved.
“The person who breaks a record gets a free t-shirt,” Charlie Mugler, a part-owner of Raging Bull Enterprises said. “I had one person break a record already.”
The time records are constantly changing, he said.
Lauren Gittens, 18, and her friend Madison Everetts, 20, both of Wilkes-Barre, said temptation of fair food is what brought them out to the fair.
The duo had a tough decision with offerings such as potato pancakes, fried cheese balls and cheeseburger balls, roasted sweet corn and pulled pork to tempt them. And if that wasn’t enough exotic menu items such as elk burgers, frog legs, gator bites and venison tenderloin were available.
“I like the roasted sweet corn,” Gittens said.
Gittens and Everetts said they are not attracted to the rides, but enjoy seeing all the animals.
In the small animal barn, two calves named Oscar and Brownie nestled in hay, while around them ornate roosters strutted and swine and a pen of pot-belly piglets sauntered.
Activity in the horse barn was constant as caretakers cleaned and decorated the stalls.
Several games of chance were available for fairgoers, but Lee Estep, the chairwoman of the fair’s Basket Raffle Committee, enticed guests to visit her tent with a 50/50 and basket raffle.
Estep said the raffles are a fundraiser for the Luzerne County Fair.
Proceeds from the raffle and 50/50 ticket sales will be used to install flushing toilets for 2017 fair, she said.
“The (public bathroom) building is almost finished being built,” Estep said.
Portable toilets are brought in for fairgoers, she said.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.