Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thinking Out Loud

The Wyoming Valley RiverFest is set for this weekend, along the banks of the Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre.

It sounds strange to say this at a time the Wyoming Valley is marking the 44th anniversary of the Tropical Storm Agnes flood, but the Wilkes-Barre area is lucky.  It has a spectacular venue to hold RiverFest.  The park looks great, and it's just a couple of blocks from the stores, bars, and restaurants in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

There is a Lackawanna RiverFest every spring.  It is a much smaller event, just one day.  After all, the Lackawanna is a much smaller river, and there is no venue like what Wilkes-Barre has.

Let's brainstorm for a moment.  Lackawanna County seems intent on starting a county fair.  The county has formed a committee to study it.  People have already been whispering in my ear that it's almost a done deal.  It could start as early as 2018.

Where?  I've heard a couple of locations kicked around.  I'm underwhelmed.  You need a lot of land, and the potential locations aren't the easiest things to reach.

Brainstorming:  Wouldn't it be nice to clear a big piece of land for the Lackawanna County Fair, near the river,  and make it accessible to other groups, like RiverFest, so it could expand into a multi day event?  I have a couple of ideas.  They're not easy, and I'm guessing they are rather unlikely.

I can dream.  Bloomsburg does it right.  You have the fair in September.  On other weekends, the fair grounds is in use for outdoors shows, car shows, home builder shows, etc.  Lackawanna County can do the same.  Just find the land, and find the money.  Just make it accessible, close to the river, and close to a city or borough that can benefit from the traffic.  It's a tall order, but it just might be do-able.

I can't neglect the other side of the argument.   You can say the job of county government is to provide services, not entertainment.  There are a lot of things higher up on the priority scale.  You can't forget that a county fair stands the risk of siphoning off money from firemen's carnivals, church picnics, and assorted other bazaars.

It's just something to think about on a summer day.