DUNDALK — The Dundalk Heritage Fair returned this past weekend in its glory of music and festivities, after a virtual heritage fair last year due to COVID-19.

Local officials cut the ribbon last Friday evening after applauding the return of the fair, and commending Dundalk’s dedication to patriotism during the July 4 weekend.

During the opening ceremony on Friday evening, Councilman Todd Crandell called Dundalk “the best town in the United States to celebrate July the 4th.”

“This event will not end, because Dundalk will not let it end, because we know how to do it right,” he said.

Weis Markets, a large sponsor of the fair, presented a check for $25,000 to the fair just before Weis manager Rob Santoni, Jr. cut the ribbon.

U.S. Representative Dutch Ruppersberger lauded the fair at its opening ceremony, also telling attendees an audit had begun addressing troubles with the United States Postal Service office.

The only thing missing this year were the rides, which fair organizers attributed to issues with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the ride vendor.

“Everything seemed fine” as the fair planning went on through the spring, Mark Krysiak, the executive director of the fair, said. But “just before the fair, they confirmed they couldn’t make it.”

The fair was still able to secure two inflatable obstacle courses from a few fair regulars, and of course, the fair’s beloved pig and hot dog races returned this year.

“It was a challenging year coming off of COVID-19,” Krysiak said.

He estimated around 7,000 people attended last weekend, most of whom came on Saturday after the Independence Day Parade.

“They’re doing the best they could,” Stephanie Botteon, a Dundalk resident who said she goes to the fair every year said.

She expressed reservations due to less vendors and rides, but said she was “glad they had it, at least.”

“It was interesting,” Roman Senbato, who said it was her first time attending, said. She said the music, which was presented on two stages throughout the fair, was enjoyable, along with the weather this weekend.

“The decoration was very nice,” Hope Chamberlain, 13, said at the fair.

The fair held its annual fireworks on Monday night outside of Grange Elementary School.

Krysiak said the Heritage Association was already financially able to start planning next year’s fair, where he expects the rides to return once again.

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