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Saturday, July 23, 2011

York Fair to make major changes in fairground design



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ANDREW SHAW, The York Dispatch
07/21/2011
America's oldest fair is about to get a major design change.

York Fair president H. Eugene Schenck just hopes the 600,000 plus patrons last year like the improvements this fall.

"It can be risky business to tinker with the fair," Schenck said Thursday.

The changes are much more than tinkering, as Schenck called it a "major upheaval."

While nothing is really being subtracted, minus some parking spaces, the main change is what's being added: Places to sit, places to walk, places to watch.

General manager Mike Froehlich, keeping the successful design of Disney World and theme parks overall in mind, has developed a new layout for the fairgrounds that will include a new, 1,700-foot long and 45-foot wide midway called Broadway that will connect the amusement rides to Memorial Hall.
The walkway is supposed to help bring together the two ends of the fair more efficiently and also create a more central common area, with several pathways connecting at the middle of Broadway at a new space called "Tymes Square"; the old-time spelling is a nod to York Fair's longevity, Froehlich said.

Other changes include an expanded amusement ride section that will have about one-third more space; more grassy space for people to set up picnic blankets and chairs; more benches and places to sit down and eat throughout the fairgrounds; more food vendors; and the relocation of the Great Country Radio Stage from in front of Memorial Hall to its east wing side, where Froehlich said the parking lot has a natural amphitheater slope for better sightlines. The animal birthing area is also being expanded.

Mostly, Froehlich said, York Fair officials wanted to make better use of green space and open things up to avoid bottlenecking. Every entrance to the fair should function as a front door, he added.

"The whole goal is a theme park atmosphere in a fair type setting," he said.

Schenck said additional announcements on fair upgrades are coming weekly, including a major attraction to be added at the end of Broadway. Admission prices are not expected to be affected by the fairground modifications.

Schenck said it's the biggest overhaul the fairgrounds has seen in its long history that dates back to 1765, outside of the Expo Center addition.

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