TROY - The area's recent cold and snowy weather is hardly the type of conditions associated with a fair.

Regardless of the season, however, the Troy Fair Board of Directors are always working hard to make the annual event as fun and entertaining as possible.

Recently, they spent several winter days at the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs Convention in Hershey to see the latest entertainment available for booking.

Back from her visit, Troy Fair President Cathy Jenkins said the fair was able to get some good entertainment for this year's fair and Endless Mountains Maple Festival, which are both held at Alparon Park in Troy.

"It's going to be a great season," she said.

While there, Mara Tate, the 2012 Troy Fair Queen, took part in the Pennsylvania State Fair Queen Pageant.

"It was a really cool experience," Tate said.

"Mara did a great job down there," Jenkins commented. "The Troy Fair Board was very proud of her. She represented us very well."

Tate noted that the pageant took place from Jan. 24-26 at the Hershey Lodge.

She went through an interview and made a stage presentation about why people should come to the Troy Fair.

Comparing the fair to a quilt, she talked about how the vendors and activities at the fair make up the fabrics of this metaphorical quit.

Quilts, in fact, are a subject near and dear to Tate's heart.

She enters quilt competitions, and won first place with the first quilt she ever entered in a contest.

"I plan to enter this year, too," she commented.

She said that she will make a quilt themed to the Troy Fair Queen program and raffle it off as a fundraiser to benefit the program this year.

She plans on using purple in the quilt due to her preference for the color and the fact that the fair queen sashes are that color.

In addition, Tate noted that she will be attending a future department head meeting for the Troy Fair, where she has been invited to share her speech from the Pennsylvania State Fair Queen competition, titled "Why You Should Come To My Fair."

Tate noted that she really talked about the volunteers who work at the fair.

"The volunteers help make the fair what it is," she said. "They make it a welcoming place."

Looking back on her visit, Tate recalled how the fair queens had to make introductions the first night before 1,000 people. She said it was a little nerve wracking, but fun.

She said that she shared her nickname, "Tater tot," and got some good-natured kidding about it.

Tate said that she wished the 2013 Pennsylvania State Fair Queen Rhonda Carl, who is from the Schuylkill County Fair, and First Alternate Sarah Wilson, who is from the Big Butler Fair, a great year.

She added that "it was special to have my grandparents, David and CoAnn May of Athens; my aunt and uncle, Candace and David Reeder of Athens; my parents, Bryan and Pamela Tate of Athens; and my brother Mason, who made the trip from Penn State Altoona," attend.

"In addition, I encourage young girls to become active in this program," Tate said. "You have a lot of fun, meet new people, grow as an individual, participate in a lot of community events, and learn about all aspects of the fair industry."

Tate said she received a glass Hershey Kiss with "well wishes" written on it and a kind message.

With all the qualities and experience represented by the fair queens from all over the state at the pageant, Tate said she was sure it was hard for the judges to select the state fair queen.

In addition, Tate said her visit was educational. She learned about the fair industry and attended seminars.

In fact, during one of the seminars, former Troy Fair Queen/State Fair Queen Casey Hall took part, sharing her experience as a state fair queen and how this role benefited her.

The Troy Fair Queen Facebook page commended Tate on her participation at the pageant, noting she did "a great job."

It reads: "Mara delivered! Her intro was fabulous, her speech was heart warming as well as spectacular! She carried herself with grace the entire 4 days! The Troy Fair board and Queens program could not be more proud of Mara and the way she represented the Troy Fair and Bradford County. Great memories were made."

"It's a great experience for the queens to go down and be able to participate," Jenkins commented.

Jenkins said that while at the convention, the fair board was able to book the band, Cook & Belle, for the fair this year.

They are a husband, wife, and son team from Indiana that plays "a little everything," she said.

"They were on the Showcase and they were outstanding, and we wanted to put them in the Troy Fair," she said.

Jenkins said the act will perform on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this year's fair, in the new pavilion. It will be a free show, and will be presented three times a day.

"They could sing about anything, they were just really good entertainers," Jenkins said.

They won't be the only musical entertainment.

As previously announced, country star Trace Adkins will be the concert headliner this year at the fair.

For the Endless Mountains Maple Festival April 27-28, Jenkins said they booked a mechanical bull and a canine show, Leaps and Bounds.

In addition to Cathy Jenkins, fair board directors Sandy Jackson, Debi Hulslander, Jon Jenkins, Sierra Jenkins, Brian Canfield, and Steve Pelton attended the convention.

Jamie Hall, the Troy Fair Queen program coordinator, also traveled to Hershey, along with Tate and Lindsey Horning, the 2012 Troy Fair Queen Second Alternate; 2011 Troy Fair Queen Lu-Anne Antisdel; and Hannah Jackson, the 2011 Troy Fair Queen First Alternate.

Jenkins noted that one act that has been previously booked, prior to the convention, for this year's fair, is Kachunga the alligator wrestler.

"We always look for something new and unique."

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: