Elvis performance, threshing demonstration highlight Country Day at Schuylkill County Fair

·3 min read

Aug. 6—SUMMIT STATION — The King may be gone, but he certainly wasn't forgotten Friday night at the Schuylkill County Fair.

Day five of the fair featured two rocking performances from Brandon Bennett, a nationally-touring Elvis Presley tribute artist, on the fair's main stage.

Dressed in a sequin jacket and a black tie, with a perfectly coiffed pompadour and sideburns to match, the singer — originally from Ponchatoula, Louisiana — looked the spitting image of the late music icon as he danced, strutted and swiveled his hips onstage.

"We're going to do a little rock 'n' roll for you," he said before bursting into his first song, "Shake, Rattle and Roll."

The first of his shows, which started at 7 p.m., focused largely on Elvis' material from the 1950s and '60s, while his second set, at 9 p.m., focused on his '70s songs. The performances included hits such as "Heartbreak Hotel," "Burning Love," "Suspicious Minds" and "An American Trilogy."

Bennett's musical act is titled "Elvis My Way," reflecting a personal element involved in his performances of Elvis' body of work. He stresses that he is "not pretending to be Elvis," but instead draws from personal experiences, highlighting what certain songs mean to him and melding stories from both his and Elvis' lives.

"I want to remind people of what he was like, as closely as I can," Bennett said. "What he was like and how he moved."

Bennett was backed by The Spin Outs, a five-member band from Chambersburg that performs specially for Elvis tribute acts.

"I enjoy being onstage," he said. "The most rewarding thing about what I do is hearing from people what I do for them ... Music is really powerful."

Other activities

Friday's theme at the fair was Country Day and, as such, several people walked around the fairgrounds in cowboy boots and cowboy hats.

The variety of activities and demonstrations throughout the day reflected the focus on country and farm life.

Near the stage and the fair entrance, several people gathered to watch a threshing demonstration organized by the Schuylkill County Agricultural Museum.

The demonstration showed an old-fashioned way to bale hay, practiced primarily in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Several wheat sheaves were thrown into a threshing machine, which separated the seeds from the stalk.

One side of the machine carried out the wheat grains, while, from another end, the remaining straw was released, pitched into a baler and compressed into hay bales.

Jason Eberly, of Myerstown, said the agricultural aspects are what he enjoys most about the Schuylkill County Fair.

"Tractors, old engines, that kind of thing," he said, "and anything with horses."

The fair also featured pony rides, mechanical bull rides, a Kountry K-9 show, a livestock obstacle course and a line dancing session directed by DJ Chicken Nugget.

The Schuylkill County Fair will conclude Saturday with a range of activities from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $5, and children 10 and younger get in free.

Contact the writer: hlee@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6085