Today, one might ask what keeps this tradition going if they aren’t centered around agriculture anymore. What keeps fairs going today is tradition; fairs have become more of a family event and that is what has been driving their popularity in recent years. Also in recent year many have found small niches to make themselves unique compared to others, like for example the Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair. This fair has been operating every year for 36 years now! Others like the Turkey Hill Fall Fest, have evolved into huge festivals for everyone to enjoy!
The fall season in America brings with it some of our favorite traditions. From apple picking to football season, autumn has something for everyone. One of my favorite traditions is the guarantee of local fairs every year. In my opinion, American county fairs and fall go together like pumpkin spice and lattes. Fairs promise something for the whole family; from food to rides and games, no one misses out!
We have all gone to fairs almost strictly because of tradition and nostalgia but when and where did this glorious tradition start? Some early fairs are documented as far back as the 1500s in Europe! Back then though, the fairs were different than what we expect today and were used primarily as a way for rural communities to meet, discuss and share new farming techniques. This is the type of fair that was introduced throughout colonial America in the 1700s. The modern rendition of fairs didn’t surface in America until the early 19th century. In fact, America’s oldest “modern” fair was first held in 1818 by three Massachusetts counties (Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden), this was one of the first fairs to include games and it ushered in the era of the fair we know and love today! Once this type of fair started spreading across the country they became perennial events by the mid-1880s.
Fairs are a great way to bring the family together for a fun evening out. So be on the lookout for upcoming fairs coming near you. Currently the New Holland fair is in session until October 1st and the Manheim Farm Fair will be in running October 3rd thru the 7th. If you are in the mood for a more musically centered outing then the aforementioned Turkey Hill Fall Fest is celebrating its 25th show October 2nd and is an electric show for anyone in attendance.
Author: Adam B. Platt
Every year, around the end of summer when the restaurant industry slows down, cities across the nation engages in an event so similar and yet so unique to each individual city. That event is known as restaurant week. For those who aren’t familiar with the occasion, once a year cities organize a demonstration of their restaurants in an attempt to bring new diners into the area and to celebrate the close of the summer culinary season. These festivals of food often include a limited menu from restaurants to showcase new dishes and boast fixed prices to offer savings to their diners.
As a whole, restaurant week from a consumer’s point of view, is a great deal and a fun way to spice up the week day grind. That being said, the issue isn’t so cut and dry from the restaurateur’s side of the table. It can become quite the dilemma. Like anything, restaurant week has its pros and cons. Some pros are you gain is a huge amount of free advertising just for signing up, from both local news and online social media. You also receive an infusion of business for the 7-14 days the deal is offered. Seems great right? What could be so bad about it? The biggest drawback to restaurant weeks is the catch 22 restaurant owners find themselves in. Typically, because of the slashed and fixed prices, restaurants lose money when serving high quality food to people who are unlikely to return and pay the full price for the full dining experience. The alternative is to cut quality to save money and hopefully turn a profit; the problem with this being it could lead to poor reviews and might even offend and discourage regular customers from returning. While this is not always the case, it is for many high end restaurants trying to connect to the public.
Currently, we are in the midst of the beloved restaurant week season. In fact, one of the largest restaurant weeks in central PA is underway right now. Harrisburg city is currently entering their second week of their affair which is showcasing a total of 18 venues. This year they are only offering dinner promotions. $35 can get you an entire three course meal as well as a $40 price tag for a two person meal which includes a shared appetizer, two entrees and a shared dessert. Presently, Harrisburg is managing the biggest turn out it has had in 9 years. The restaurant week has been happening in Harrisburg since 2008. It started as a downtown marketing campaign originally called “Pamper your palate on Restaurant row”, which has thankfully been reduced as people thought it was a mouthful.
If Harrisburg is just a little too far of a drive for dinner, you are in luck! Lancaster City is also embarking on their 4th restaurant week beginning on Monday September 19. The prices are similar to Harrisburg’s but they do include breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, Lancaster is boasting a lineup of 34 restaurants this year, almost double Harrisburg! So if you’re looking for plans next week look no further than Lancaster for dinner.
What are your thoughts on this summers end tradition? Do you relish in the environment of bustling streets mixed with a late summer breeze while strolling down on restaurant row? Or do you prefer experimenting with culinary trends on your own, taking in a full menu and a more authentic dining experience? I think at the very least it’s worth it to go out and experience one of these events as there is nothing else like it and it is fun way to celebrate what your city has to offer in the ways of culinary excellence. See you there!
Author: Adam Platt
Providing the food and beverage industry with installation, service, parts replacement and planned maintenance programs since 1971.