WHITNEYVILLE - The Tioga County Fair is usually a time of festivities and fun for farm families and visitors alike, but halfway through this year's event tragedy struck a long time fair family.
Dale and Lynda Swan, lost their sons in a tragic car crash during fair week. Their oldest boy, Dale, or "D.J." as he was known, died instantly in the crash on Route 249 Aug. 9. A passenger, his 14-year-old brother, Ben, died the following Monday at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
The fair community was "devastated," said Kirsten Dubbs, Penn State Cooperative Extension educator for 4-H youth development.
"Both boys were very involved with the 4-H program, and their mom is a 4-H volunteer leader," she said.
"Both boys also were in the county council, Teen Leadership, and DJ was a camp counselor," she added.
They also were members of the Hare Raisers 4-H Club and the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
After catching its collective breath, the fair family sprang into action, Dubbs said.
Both boys had animals exhibited in the fair, and on Saturday, during the Junior Livestock Auction, Ben's 234 pound pig was sold to Blaise Alexander of Williamsport for $20 per pound, bringing in almost $5,000. He then donated the pig back to be re-sold, which it was three more times, once for $5 per pound and then again for $1.50 per pound and again for $1.45 per pound, with all the money going to the family, according to fair livestock coordinator Chasity Kaltenbach.
"Numerous other donations were made by people in the audience and exhibitors. The kids donated some of their money from their own sales to the family also," Kaltenbach said.
Several other items were donated back at the end of the sale for the benefit of the Swan family.
"The grand champion rabbit pen and the reserve grand champion poultry pen both were resold.
Two 4-H buyers who bought 4-H project hogs in the sale also donated them back to be resold, said Penn State Cooperative Extension agent Craig Williams.
Many buyers and 4-H and FFA members have donated to the Swan family fund at the First Citizens Community Bank in Wellsboro, Williams added.
Anyone wishing to donate to the fund can do so by sending a check to First Citizen's Community Bank, 1 Pearl Street, Wellsboro, 16901, and mark it "Attention Swan family fund."