They say when you gotta go… the once wildly popular “Outhouse Races” at the Greene-Dreher-Sterling (GDS) Fair came and went almost 25 years ago, but have returned.
NEWFOUNDLAND - They say when you gotta go… the once wildly popular “Outhouse Races” at the Greene-Dreher-Sterling (GDS) Fair came and went almost 25 years ago, but have returned.
Re-introduced for the 100th anniversary of the GDS Fair, they were a little late in starting, but the patient crowd waited to see if it was actually going to go.
Indeed it did, and the toilet paper rolls unravelled as the mad cap race went down the fairground arena, grown men pushing an outhouse on wheels, with a not-so “hapless victim” sitting inside.
Who could ever think of such a thing?
“It was a lot of fun,” said Carroll Krautter, 83, former director and a fair volunteer for 71 years, as he described the original races. The notion was conjured up at a Fair Association meeting in 1989, according to the official history. They said that evening the last time it was held was in 1991.
Back in the day they’d get so rambunctious, sometimes the outhouse would tip and the occupant would tumble out.
“This is the first time this generation has seen the Outhouse Race,” said Katrina Caljean, Fair Director, who served as the announcer. “We’re trying to bing it back.”
In the old days they had as many as six to eight outhouses in the race, Krautter said. Fair Director Phyllis Jones recalled that some of the early competitors were Roger Altemier, Honesdale National Bank, the radio station company in Honesdale and Ralph and Alice Martin.
The races were renewed for 2017 with just one outhouse, but Caljean stressed what they were looking at is an original, last used at the GDS Fair in 1991. A Real McCoy, this veteran of the first races belongs to Alice Martin, Dale and Barb Phillips (Ralph has passed on).
The yellow, wooden box labeled “Royal Flush” is outfitted with a throne-like fancy chair. Crescent moons were cut in the double doors.
There were three teams, each which took turns racing it down the track. They included The Arena, The Barn and the fire company team (Hamlin Fire & Rescue).
Alternate Fair Queen Breanna Price assisted.
The person “going for a ride” unrolled the toilet paper, which served as a way to time the race.
Calvin said they hope the race would inspire others to enter next year, with their own custom, decorated outhouses.
They might have had a full complement of three outhouses, if they had marshaled the two plastic, portable toilets (the modern version of outhouses) seen sitting in the background behind the arena. Of course that might present a problem if they were needed for traditional use!
Ends Sunday night
The 100th GDS Fair in downtown Newfoundland, Pa. continues through Sunday, September 3rd. Here is the schedule for the finable two days.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
9 a.m. Gates Open 11 a.m. Exhibit Building Open
11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Baby Pageant Pre-Registration EP
12 p.m. Midway Opens
ALL DAY Magic/Comedy Show Matt Episcopo. Show times announced day of the event.
1 p.m. GDS Jr. Livestock Auction BARN
(Swine & Beef Barn Closed During Sale)
2:30 p.m. Baby Pageant EP 4 p.m. Youth Turkey Calling Contest BARN
6:30—9 p.m. Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen EP
6:30 p.m. Power Wheels Derby ARENA
7 p.m. Demolition Derby ARENA ($5 Extra Charge)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
9 a.m. Gates Open
9 a.m. Farm Tractor Pull ARENA
11 a.m. Exhibit Building Open
12 p.m. Midway Opens
1 p.m. Frog Jumping Contest FLAG POLE
1 p.m. Dog Show BARN
ALL DAY Magic/Comedy Show, Matt Episcopo. Show times announced day of the event. EP
6:30—9 p.m. East Coast Turnaround EP
6 p.m. Gas & Semi Truck Pull ARENA.
For more information, visit www.gdsfair.com or call 570-676-4047.