EDITORIAL: Thumbs up to the York Fair, Yolanda's Place and Tucker Haas
Thumbs up: To the York Fair, which drew large crowds in its final turn before major changes come into play next year.
Total attendance over the 10 days of the fair was 529,574, a 17% increase over last year, fair organizers said.
It was still down from 2017, when 565,483 people went to the fair, but better than 2018's attendance of 450,173.
This year, the weather was great, and the grandstand had big country stars on the stage, starting with Brad Paisley on opening day and ending with Brantley Gilbert on the final Friday.
"We have seen increases across the board in terms of gate admissions, concert ticket sales, ride armband/ticket sales and concessionaire receipts which indicates a very successful fair on every level," said Bryan Blair, CEO of the York Fair, in a release.
And now for the changes.
Next year, the York Fair will become the York State Fair — we know, York isn't a state, we didn't come up with this — and the fair will run July 24 through Aug. 2.
That's usually one of the hottest times of the year, and it's also early for any farmers and 4-H kids who are showing animals or entering produce in contests.
Organizers say there will be plenty of misting stations and resting areas where people can cool down. We hope they follow through on those.
Food vendors on the final day of the fair were mostly optimistic about the changes, though.
"I'm worried about the heat in July down here, but we plan on coming," said Vince Martino of Santillo Concessions. "It'll change the tradition of the fair a little, but hopefully it will start a new one."
Thumbs up: To Bell Socialization Services' new Community Hospitalization Integration Project Program, which opened new apartments on Jefferson Avenue last week.
They're officially Jefferson Towers, but the 10 residents know them as Yolanda's Place after Yolanda McCanic, the program coordinator.
The program provides housing for people living with serious mental illness, providing on-site staff contact to help with transportation, medication and daily living, according to Bell's website.
For resident Nelda Perez, the move to the apartment means the end of two years of living in temporary Bell locations.
"This is my castle," said Perez as she showed off her apartment to attendees of the ribbon cutting and open house who congratulated her and commented on her decorating.
Bell continually works to help those with mental illness find a place in our community. York County is lucky to have them.
Thumbs up: To Tucker Haas, who at 19 is fulfilling a dream by going to Penn State's main campus as a freshman.
At the age of 2, Haas was disgnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the connective tissue that grew on the right side of his face and right rib. He became a Four Diamonds child and attended his first Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon Thon at age 4, while receiving treatment at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
But 17 years, three relapses, 77 radiation treatments and 16 Thons later, Haas is cancer-free.
Haas was the boy behind Tucker's Team, formed when the members of Central York High School's football team made him an honorary member in 2005, when he was 6 and going through cancer treatments.
The team sold T-shirts in Central's orange and black colors and collected money at games to help Tucker's family.
And it was worth it. Haas has now been in remission more than five years, and he's looking forward to participating in Thons as a student in February.
“It’s the experience when you walk into the (Bryce Jordan Center) at Friday night at 6 o’ clock when everybody stands up ... music’s playing, it’s just so unreal, it’s so breathtaking,” he said.
By the time he's a senior, Haas plans to be dancing in Thon. It will be his 20th time at the event.