Joe Myers documentary focuses on an agricultural exhibition that began in Centre, PA, in 1874 and continues to lure thousands of people who temporarily transform the rural landscape into a miniature city for the annual festival. Says Dairy Princess Ashley Bird, People just think it s a regular fair, but as we all know, it s not, a sentiment expressed by everyone from child chicken farmers to nonagenarian needle-workers. Among those who look forward to the event all year long are 4-H Club member C.J. Zimmerman and baker Ruth Wolf, the latter attending since 1916, the year of her birth (Ruth s specialty is black walnut cookies). Myers follows some of the featured subjects for several months as they prepare for the big event growing crops, raising animals, canning, and doing handiwork. The fair s enticements include competitions, dances, tractor pulls, food, rides, agricultural vendors, and live performances, with most of the visitors and participants coming from small towns in the area (although Wolf travels from Reston, VA). Most of the arriving campers bring cars and trucks bursting with full-size furnishings to make their temporary living quarters as homey as possible (a tent-decorating contest may also be a motivating factor). A poignant and affectionate documentary capturing a fading piece of Americana the encampment fair The Grange Fair also nicely pays tribute to another endangered species: the small farmer. Recommended --Video Librarian
About the Director
Joe Myers has worked with Penn State Public Broadcasting, a PBS affiliate, since 2003. As producer/director of A Road to Independence
, he won the 2006 Mid-Atlantic Chapter National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy award for Best Documentary. Working as an independent filmmaker in conjunction with PSPB, he was producer/director for The Grange Fair - An American Tradition
, now in national distribution with PBS, which has been recognized with a Silver Screen Award in the U.S. International Film and Video Festival and with a 2005 Mid-Atlantic Chapter National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy award in the documentary category. He won a 2005 Mid-Atlantic Emmy in the feature/informational category for Geology in the National Parks
. He has also produced a wide variety of award-winning public service announcements, programs, short features, and commercials. Myers is a 1998 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a B.A. Film and Video Production.