News release shared by Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, May 21, 2024. Photos courtesy of Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust. 

Under an agreement of sale with Jefferson Abington Hospital and Abington Memorial Healthcare Corp, the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust (“PERT”) has agreed to purchase the parcel of land that make up the June Fete Fairgrounds (the “Fairgrounds”).

Per the terms of the agreement of sale, the PERT intends to purchase the Fairgrounds to be held as green space forevermore. The PERT, however, will grant the Abington Health Foundation Women’s Board an exclusive right to use the Fairgrounds for the June Fete Fair (the “Fair”) each year in perpetuity. This year’s Fete Fair will be held June 7 to June 9, 2024.

The Fairgrounds are comprised of 41 acres which are currently zoned for residential development. As relatively flat, high ground, uncomplicated by wetlands or prior land-use issues, these lands could easily be developed into residential housing. However, with the sale of the Fairgrounds to the PERT, the land will be preserved as open, undeveloped, green space.

“We are delighted to give the Pennypack Trust the opportunity to purchase the land. It’s really the best of both worlds where the Fair can continue, and the land is preserved forever,” said Jill Kyle, Senior VP for Regional Advancement at Jefferson Health. The June Fete Fair, established in 1913, is run by Abington Health Foundation’s Women’s Board and its Auxiliaries. All proceeds of the Fair currently go toward capital improvements at Jefferson Abington Hospital, and the proceeds of the sale of the Fairgrounds will go to the benefit of Jefferson Abington Hospital as well.

As a reputable land trust that is dedicated to the preservation of open space forever, PERT will not only own the land outright, but also protect the land under a conservation easement that will forbid development in perpetuity.

Chris Mendel, PERT’s Executive Director, says “It’s our job and our privilege to preserve and manage open space as habitat. But this is rare opportunity to preserve a tradition, what some folks say is the longest continually running fair in the US, right alongside the natural systems that we need to protect.”

Chris Mendel and Jill Kyle available for comment by request.