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Grange Fair Brings Big Boost to Local Economy

The Grange Fair kicks off Thursday in Centre County and preparations are already underway.
CENTRE HALL, CENTRE COUNTY - The Grange Fair kicks off Thursday in Centre County, and preparations are already underway.

Wednesday is the last day for campers to move into their posts for the Grange Fair kick off Thursday. They've been busy moving in for the past four days.

Folks there say the fair isn't just a time to relax and have fun, it's also a boost to the local economy.

It's almost that time of year again.

"People want to be here," Darlene Confer, General Manager of the Grange Fair, said. "They want to be part of this whole scenario, a part of this tradition."

The Grange Fair is a tradition 139 years in the making, and it's still going strong.

"We're expecting around 200,000 visitors," Confer said. "If we have more, that would be great. We do have our 2,500 families who reside here. We should have at the very least, about 10,000 people living here by Wednesday night."

Eddie Nicolosi can't wait.

"It brings a lot of money to the area and it goes to various organizations, so it definitely helps out," Nicolosi said.

Nicolosi owns Brother's Pizza just down the road in Centre Hall. He says the Grange is a big shot in the arm for the local economy and a great boost for his restaurant, too.

"We see a five to ten percent increase, probably," he said. "It averages out before, during and after the fair."

And it's not just his business. Confer says last year alone, the Grange Fair put millions of dollars back into Centre County.

"Last year, we brought in $2.2 million," she said. "We returned $2.1 million to the economy."

"You see different faces coming before they move in," Nicolosi said. "It's a tradition for a lot of people, it means a lot to them, so it's really all about family. It's just a great time of year."

Confer expects this year's fair to bring in the same, if not more money. She says that depends largely on the weather.

There is a special ticket sale running for those folks who want to visit the Grange Fair Thursday. Anyone can buy an admissions ticket for $8 at the gate and get free parking, free rides, discount tickets and more.

Shuttles will also run from State College to Bellefonte and Pleasant Gap for anyone who doesn't want to drive to the fair. The cost for a ride is $5.
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