Local dairy farmer hopes to keep tradition alive at Great Stoneboro Fair

Local News

STONEBORO, Pa. (WKBN) – There’s plenty to do at The Great Stoneboro Fair. Thursday night, the Wheels of Agriculture Game Show is being played and Chris Higbee will perform on stage. Behind the scenes, we found a vital cog in the fair’s history and hope people embrace it for the future.

Don Jones is no stranger to The Great Stoneboro Fair, which started in 1868. It has been around for 153 years. Jones’ first fair was in 1961, making this his 61st year being on the fairgrounds.

“I grew up in my grandpa’s barn, milking cows when I was 12 years old. I’ve seen a lot of cows milked,” he said.

Jones has won his share of ribbons over the years.

The fair has 130 cows, about 30 of them produce milk. The Dwight Pringle milking parlor was added in 1990, and that milk goes over to the Dairy Princess booth, where it’s the main ingredient for their ice cream.

The Great Stoneboro Fair – Schedule of Events

Jones is amazed at the number of people who show up at night and have never seen a cow milked.

“They don’t know where milk comes from. They think chocolate milk comes from brown cows. That’s not how that happens,” he said.

He’s concerned about the mega-dairies across the country that can produce milk cheaper than what can be done by local dairies. He’s hoping we don’t have to give in to them.

“I tell people I’m scared to death that I go to the cupboard, get the cereal bowl out and go to the fridge and get a can of Coke out and pour in my cereal because I won’t be able to buy any milk before long,” Jones said.

While Jones is concerned about the future of farming, he’s also concerned about the fair’s future. He says more volunteers are needed, especially younger volunteers to keep the traditions going.

Wednesday night, Jones was named a Friend of the Fair.

“It took my breath away. I was just dumbfounded. I knew nothing about it… You know, I know a couple guys that got this award over the years and I thought I’m not in the same class as them guys,” he said.

Jones loves how the fair supports the Lions Club, the churches and even the fire department.

The Jackson Center United Methodist Church said this might be its last year at the fair due to a lack of volunteers.

Jones believes those local groups will be a vital part of The Great Stoneboro Fair for the next 153 years.

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