The Big Knob Grange began on April 29, 1936 in the old Baker’s School, and by May 7th, a charter list of 51 members was sent to the State Grange for Approval. In July, an agreement was approved with Kenneth Brenner for some land along Glen Eden Road, and construction of the first home for the Grange began. Most of that work was done by members, some being paid 40 cents per hour. The first meeting was held in the hall on May 4, 1937. The last meeting there was on September 20, 1950, and soon after that the hall was dismantled as the extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike came through New Sewickley Township.
The Grange met in Ault’s Dance Hall while a new was being constructed on the Gemmil property. On June 20, 1951, just nine months later, the first meeting was held in the unfinished hall. The seating might have been blocks and boards, but the determined members were moving forward. Formal dedication happened on April 29, 1952, and the membership reached its highest number at nearly 400.
The hall remains one of the unofficial “top ten best” halls in the nation. Near disaster struck on May 10, 2009 when an arsonist tried to burn the building. The majority of the hall’s interior, except the kitchen, had to be removed and replaced. Again, determination ruled and the hall was ready for the public late in August as the Fair opened.
It is with sadness that Big Knob Grange announces the cancellation of the 2020 Fair which was to be held September 1st through the 5th.
The Fair Committee reviewed many options and after much discussion of the issues facing them, voted unanimously to recommend cancellation of the fair due to the many questions concerning the area’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and how that would affect attendance, as well as our need to ensure each patron’s well-being.
Big Knob Grange Fair has been a “free fair” for all of its 77 years of existence. We take pride in our dinners, entertainment, exhibits and other activities. Not since 1950 when the PA Turnpike Commission took our property on Glen Eden Road to extend the Turnpike to Ohio, has the Grange missed conducting the annual fair for the community,
We pledge to our many vendors, exhibitors, sponsors, and volunteers that work will begin immediately to plan for the 2021 fair, scheduled for August 31st through September 4th.
We ask your understanding of our decision to cancel, and hope that you’ll put next year’s fair on your calendar now.
Bill Steel, President
Big Knob Grange