Warren Peachey has fond memories of growing up with the New Holland Farmers Fair. As a child, he never would have guessed he would become part of the farm show's history.
Serving as a farm show volunteer for over 45 years, Peachey, 74, said this year's event — which opens today — will be his last.
And it might not have happened without him.
In the fall of 2014, with an aging volunteer force waning, the Farmer's Day Association put out a call for help in the hope that a renewed spirit of service would generate volunteers needed to continue the annual tradition.
Peachey said about 25 people called in response to the request. New Holland Mayor Wilbur Horning said Peachey was "instrumental in recruiting new volunteers."
"We tried to find out what people's interests were and fit them in accordingly," Peachey said. "We had some gaps to fill for this year, and in the end we picked up some good people."
"It's hard to get people to volunteer," said Peachey. But he is optimistic that a new generation will step up to take over preparations for future fairs.
Peachey got involved in the farm show in the early 1970s by helping set up agricultural exhibits. He gradually became so involved with the event that he went from taking a day off work here and there, to taking off a whole week, not to mention the countless hours spent planning.
The event, which centers on the 100 blocks of East and West Main streets, combines traditional fair food and amusement rides with agriculture, of which its history is rooted.
The inaugural 1927 event was billed as a Farmers Day, highlighted by livestock shows, poultry and produce exhibits.
The midway of the four-day fair, which stretches from the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Main Street to Custer Avenue and Main Street will include food vendors, games, rides and exhibits.
Festivities kick off with the Spectacle of Bands parade Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The Fireman's Tug-of-War, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, begins at 8 p.m. Thursday, and the FFA tractor-driving contest is scheduled for Friday morning at 10.
Later in the day Friday, from 1-4 p.m.. is Kids Day, with balloons, face painting and other children's activities.
Saturday brings the baby and pet parades and horseshoe-pitching contest.
The midway will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The rides and most food stands will open at 4 p.m. today and Thursday, and 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
There is no admission fee, and free parking can be found on surrounding streets. Paid parking is available today at Evangelical United Methodist Church, 276 West Main St.
The mayor is proud of the town's tradition and says that it is one of the few remaining street fairs in Pennsylvania.
"The farm show has become a tradition in our town, where friends reconnect and old acquaintances are renewed," Horning said.
In regards to long-time organizer Peachey, Horning only has good things to say.
"New Holland is blessed with many volunteers, but few can match the work of Warren, both from the length and the depth of his service with the farm show. He will be greatly missed," said Horning.
New Holland businessman and community leader Steve Loewen had this to say: "If it weren't for (Peachey), a lot of things wouldn't get done at both the community park and in relation to the fair. He has really kept it together the last couple of years. He is a great leader."
Steve Good, chairman of the borough's property committee, lauded Peachey publicly at a recent council meeting, while state Rep. Dave Zimmerman presented Peachey with a citation.
So what does Peachey have planned for the future?
"As soon as this fair is over,” he said, “I am moving to Florida."