Meadville Tribune

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August 22, 2013

Gov. honors volunteers, touts impact of agriculture at fair

WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP — Susan Tau has been a worker at the Crawford County Fair for many years as she works at coordinating various events — including the annual livestock market sale for 4-H and FFA members. She usually knows everything that is going on — particularly at the area of the fair that includes the barns and special events.

But, she was in for a surprise Thursday. She and others were seated in the audience in the Youth Show Arena to hear Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.

Corbett called her name to present her a citation for this year’s “Outstanding Fair Ambassador,” given to a person who has been a great ambassador for the fair.

Nominations are accepted for the award. Corbett noted that for any fair to be successful it takes a lot of work by volunteers and dedication and thanked Tau for her dedication to the fair. In 1978, Tau started working with the Pennsylvania State Cooperative Extension Service and is a tireless worker, Corbett said. He also mentioned that Tau was already working at the fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday before the fair opened — preparing for the sale.

“You shocked me,” Tau said to Corbett of the award. “A lot of people on the fairgrounds have put in more time than I have,” she said, adding with a grin, “I don’t intend to put in as much time as they have.”

Joining Tau on the stage with the governor were many of the fair board members as well as Republican state Sen. Bob Robbins and Republican state Reps. Michele Brooks, Brad Roae and Greg Lucas.

The governor gave credit to the legislators for passing legislation that allowed the fair to continue with some state funding.

“The county fairs play an important part,” he said, noting agriculture is the “No. 1 industry and the No. 2 is tourism.” He noted county fairs bring agriculture and tourism together. In addition, he said, “It’s a way of life,” adding that he hopes county fairs continue for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “It’s part of our heritage here in Pennsylvania.”

Corbett has visited many county and community fairs this year (there are 109 in the state) and will attend others before fair season is over. He praised the legislators for passing a bill eliminating the state inheritance tax on family farms so the farms are not lost to tax sales.

Turning to introduce state Secretary of Agriculture George Greig, the governor called him “Your best export to Harrisburg,” referring to the fact Greig is from Linesville. “You can have him back in five and one-half years,” he said, referring to the fact he expects to win a second term and expects to keep Greig on has secretary of agriculture.

Corbett then turned his attention to the fair board members as he presented oversized check for $21,558.60 — the Crawford County Fair’s annual allotment from the state budget. The state’s allocation to county fairs is based on a formula, including population of the area, premiums paid and operational costs.

Corbett noted when he took office as governor in 2011, all fairs in the state’s fund budget was $780,000. He said with the help of the Legislature, the state now gives $3 million to the state’s fairs.

Speaking about his visit, Corbett said he didn’t realize how large the Crawford County Fair was and was happy to be able to visit it in person. He was to attend another event in Erie following his Crawford County stop.

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