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Changes at the Bloomsburg Fair

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. — The Bloomsburg Fairgrounds are almost unrecognizable in January without all the vendors and crowds. But it takes more than one week a ye...

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. -- The Bloomsburg Fairgrounds are almost unrecognizable in January without all the vendors and crowds. But it takes more than one week a year to run the largest fair in Pennsylvania, and people were there working on this January day.

After nine years as president of the Bloomsburg Fair, Paul Reichart officially retired over the weekend.

"I wanted to go out on a high note. I came in during the flood era, and now we are financially very stable. We got a lot accomplished in those nine years that I feel very good about," Reichart said.

Over the weekend, farmer and longtime fair director Randy Karschner was elected to a three-year term as Bloomsburg Fair president.

"It's very exciting. It's a big job. I didn't think I'd ever be here, but it's very exciting," Karschner said.

Karschner spent the past 11 years as the fair's superintendent of rabbits, poultry, and school exhibits. His parents have had a stand at the fair since before he was born.

"I know all the ins and outs and the back doors of this fair," Karschner said.

In addition to new ideas at the Bloomsburg Fair, fair officials are also discussing old ones. Over the weekend, they decided to discontinue the helicopter attraction.

A helicopter crashed at last year's fair. The pilot was injured, and several vehicles were damaged. It was the second time in recent years that there was an incident involving a helicopter at the fair.

"You've got to think about what could happen next. Nobody got seriously hurt, we were very fortunate. There's a lot of people who walk by that helicopter. It just can't happen," Karschner said.

"The next one could really be a disaster, so we don't need that with the insurance and everything else. I think we made the right decision," Reichart said.

Karschner tells Newswatch 16 the Bloomsburg Fair is coming up with bigger and better ideas to take the place of the helicopter rides.