"You have to persevere when you make wine and I'm an impatient person to a degree. I knew I lacked patience and made wine to acquire it. Now I've gained patience and lost my humility."
So Plumber Jeff says Calvin and the Mennonites got us into the convention center mess, and they should get us out of it. Well, a good manager knows a mess is an opportunity in disguise (speaking of Betty Groff; what a powerhouse of a manager!).
(Full disclosure: as NewsLanc.com's first web editor I sat through many public meetings where the same core group of people spoke their concerns and questions about the convention center. Never saw Jeff there).
Now that it's built, that flat-top hotel is attractive in an unornamented, uncluttered way, a companion for the once-single Griest Building. I entered it for the first time in December 2011 to sing. The interior reminded one of a carpeted parking garage. Not even a sign pointing to the restrooms.
The quilt convention is popular, and the soccer convention, and some others too. People came from all over. But what's missing is more of the hometown crowd, something all our own in that big, wonderful space, something that's purely Lancaster County. And it seems to me this may have been suggested at one of the public meetings before we "went vertical," but let's put a Lancaster County fair in that convention center.
The Lancaster County fair season starts near the end of August with the Elizabethtown fair and ends with the Manheim Farm Show in October. A fair and farm show preview in the Lancaster County Convention Center would be a huge attraction, both here at home and everywhere. Present this season opener in early August as a showcase of Lancaster County's best: all the wonderful fair food and yes, farm animals too. Calves, lambs, chickens. Cooking competitions. Real Lancaster County-grown food in the Penn Square Grille, with recipes straight from Betty Groff's cookbooks: broiled chicken, corn pie, scraped new potatoes with browned butter, local tomato juice, corn on the cob, chow chow, french-fried eggplant, broiled spareribs, blueberry shortcake, vanilla ice cream. And locally-made beer and wine of course!
"Let's put on a show" isn't the answer to everything but holding a Lancaster County Fair would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase all the good things we still have here in farm country, a celebration of our country heritage for everybody to enjoy. We're putting our tax dollars into the convention center; let's pour our Lancaster County heart into it as well.