Year after year, The Great Allentown Fair remains one of the best trademark events of summer in the Lehigh Valley and its surrounding counties.
Food vendors like Take a Taco, The Brass Rail, Pie in a Cone, and Caribbean Noodles are only a few of the many stalls I saw on Aug. 30 while walking through the fairgrounds. Signs advertising pierogies, funnel cake, and fresh-squeezed lemonade are plastered on every other stand. Little Richard’s and Joe’s Homemade Pierogies are two of the most recognized vendors, both of which my family bought from.
Though many people, most notably my parents, go to the Allentown Fair for the food, I enjoy watching the events more than anything else. This year’s schedule included acts along the lines of the popular Brunon Blaszak Royal Bengal Tiger Show and the Uptown Band, but what captured my attention was the acrobat show and the so-called World of Wonders. Standing on a stage in Agriplex Square, the five performers from Kenya who announced themselves as the ZuZu Acrobats began their show with an upbeat dance number. They prompted the growing number of viewers to clap along to the beat, quickly increasing hype in the audience. Within a few minutes, they transitioned their performance to a round of extreme, 15 inches above-the-ground limbo.
At the beginning of their act, the acrobats, two of which made it to the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent in 2011, announced, “Come see the show that will have you questioning your flexibility!” Let me be the first to say that they thoroughly proved this statement. Contortion, pyramid-building, and insane pliability were all key parts of their performance. Other portions included doing handstands on top of a stack of precariously balanced chairs and doing flips in the middle of a jump rope routine. Throughout the show, their high energy natures remained the same as they dramatically acted out conversations with one another. Once it was over, they offered to give out pictures to the audience members and even added their own personality to the pictures by lifting said audience members over their heads by the arms. I chose to get a picture, but denied the opportunity to be lifted.
The World of Wonders attraction was less energetic, but a lot zanier. The show, which was in a long, big top-esque tent, kicked off with a man hammering a nail into his nose. He then proceeded to twist out the nail, stick it through his lip, and hammer it into his nose again. This act set the eccentric tone for the rest of the show. As it went on, the same man balanced on one foot on a row of four blades, and audience members grasped at their ears as another performer looped large chains through his ear lobes and used them to swing an authentic steel ball.
Grotesque imagery aside, the Allentown Fair’s events—and yes, its food—remain a timeless classic for all residents of the Lehigh Valley area.