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Secretary Hayes leads official dedication of new horse barn

Returning to his hometown county fair, Secretary of Agriculture Sam Hayes Jr. was definitely in his element Sunday afternoon.
“I’ve been to nine fairs this week,” Secretary Hayes commented to an audience in front of the new horse barn at the Huntingdon County Fairgrounds. “And, as always, it’s good to be home.” Hayes introduced State Fair Queen Jacquie Pratt of Lancaster County, who thanked everyone for their hospitality.
“I have heard that the Huntingdon County Fair is the best in the state,” Pratt said. “I do not disagree.”
The dedication of the horse barn, a 50-stall addition to the original J. Fred Campbell Barn, was the official recognition of the people who worked to make the new structure. Hayes called it another “milestone” at the Huntingdon fairgrounds. The barn was constructed in the spring at a cost of $31,500 by Sunset Construction, a company owned by Jake Peachey of Belleville. The building includes an air conditioned office. Fifty stalls were brought to the fairgrounds, on loan from the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
“The equine industry is important in Pennsylvania,” Hayes said. There are 200,000 horses in the state. “Some people depend on horses to be tractors; some use them for pleasure riding and driving.” Hayes said Pennsylvania provides the best fair fund in America, allocating the resources to county fairs to build such structures as the new barn and for ribbons, trophies and the 4-H youth programs.
One of the three superintendents of the equine department at the fair, Joan Long, said there are 152 horses this year, thanks to the many volunteers who helped prepare the barn and register the exhibitors.
“We got everyone in who wanted to be here,” said Deb Keppler, another superintendent. “We also drew from Clearfield, Bedford and Mifflin counties. All areas are represented in the county.”
Rose Waite, the third superintendent, said she was pleased with everyone’s cooperation in decorating their stalls in the new barn.
Fair board president Jim Davis said his job is to listen to what others are saying, work it out on paper and then follow through. He praised the volunteers who serve as superintendents and fair board members, saying “they keep me humble.” The barn was a long-standing request from the equine department because of lack of space for all of the exhibitors who wanted to bring their horses to the fair.
Rep. Larry Sather was also a guest of honor at the dedication.