The Boyertown Area Times
Oley Fair focuses on giving back
Kevin Bieber is the president of the Oley Fair, and he and his fair board are as generous as they come.
By honoring and carrying forward time-honored traditions of animal husbandry, agriculture, crafting, food production, family entertainment and everything most beloved about rural country living, the Oley Fair is a positive reflection and role model of and for the Oley Valley, as well as a shining beacon for other such community gatherings in our region to emulate.
With Bieber and the Oley Fair folks, it’s not about creating a huge profit to stash away, rather, their mission has evolved to host a fair that is financially successful but also succeeds in the most meaningful way possible because at the end of the fair, the longtail effect of positive attendance and profit is shared with community-based organizations throughout the entire Oley Valley.
I stopped by the fair’s recent annual awards ceremony and party in Oley, and the entire fest hall was filled with smiling people representing all walks of life in the valley and beyond. Perhaps the biggest smile of all was on Bieber’s
face as he and his team gave away significant sums of money as follows:
• Berks Pomona Grange, $500
• Oley Valley Woman’s Club, $500
• Oley Food Pantry, $1,000
• Oley Valley FFA Alumni, $500
• Christmas in the Valley, $1,000
• Oley Valley Heritage Association, $1,000
• Oley Library, $2,000
• Oley Youth League, $2,500
• Central Berks Police, $2,000
• Oley Township Road Crew, $3,000
• Oley Music Association, $2,500
• Oley Community Education Foundation, $3,500
• Oley FFA, $4,000
• Oley Fire Company Truck Crew, $5,000
• Oley Youth Character Building, $5,000
• Oley Ambulance, $5,000
• Oley Fire Company General Fund, $5,000
I asked Bieber how the fair’s philosophy and actions of giving back came into being.
“The Oley Valley Community Fair Association has been very fortunate to have a very successful fair for the last few years, allowing us to build some reserves that we wanted to share with our fellow community organizations,” he said. “We also had an event like this in 2020 where we contributed back $38,500 to 10 local community groups.
“The Oley Fair knows the value of working together with our community, and we feel this is the best way to show our partnership within the Oley Valley. My role with the Oley Fair is president, and I’m a lifelong resident of the Oley Valley and have the pleasure of being involved in several notfor-profit organizations.
“I know how hard these individuals work in order to keep their organizations in a stable financial condition. I am very passionate about the Oley Fair, and when your organization can have an event like this to help the community; it certainly solidifies why we do what we do.
“The reason we can do what we do and why the fair has had success is simply because of our volunteers and sponsors. Without any of them, there would not be an Oley Fair. I’m certain that our founders and initial volunteers of the Oley Valley Community Fair are very proud of how far the fair has come and what we just did with this year’s special community celebration”.
The Bible teaches that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and it’s not surprising that Bieber has been touched by the spirit of sharing the fair’s success with as many Oley residents as possible in this unique way.
Much of the Oley Valley itself has been blessed with natural and historic resources worthy of attention and preservation.
The Sacred Oak is rooted in the valley, and for untold generations its energy attracted Lenni Lenape natives and pioneers. The mountain healer, Mountain Mary, impacted the region of the valley for natives and settlers as she, a spiritual giver, taught through actions that being kind and caring is a righteous path to tread.
Bieber and the team of volunteers and friends that work to make the Oley Fair one of the best and most genuine agricultural fairs in the world deserve our praise and respect for going beyond the average measure of success into the realm of what future historians will look back and see as a golden age for the fair and the Oley Valley.
One of the best ways to thank the Oley Valley Community Fair team is to attend on Sept. 21, 22 or 23. While you’re there, you can take pride in knowing that every french fry, hot dog, hamburger, barbecue and almost everything else you consume will create a ripple in the pond of revenue production and flow. Eventually, some of what you spent will go toward bettering the entire Oley Valley. What a fantastic win-win for everyone.