The Vinland Fair’s helping hands
Gerald and Jean Moore spend much of the year working toward three days in August.
The Baldwin City couple are responsible for much of the behind-the-scenes work that makes the Vinland Fair, which runs Thursday through Saturday, a success every year.
"It's really a year round thing, all the work you do," Gerald Moore said. "It's impossible to say all that you do."
Gerald Moore has been working at the Vinland Fair since 1955.
"I was interested in the tractor pulling," he said. "So I went to the fair and the next thing I know, I'm helping."
Jean Moore started helping at the fair a few years later.
"I've always baked pies for the fair," she said. "Now that I'm retired, I help a little more."
Both have served as secretaries on the fair board since 1985.
Gerald Moore, who has served as chair of the maintenance committee, has done much of the painting, mowing and electrical work for more than 30 years. He said a lot of that work usually begins the first part of June.
"There's always maintenance work that needs to be done like electrical upgrades, mowing, painting and other general upkeep," he said.
He's also responsible for lining up judges and superintendents and ordering fair necessities including garbage dumpsters and portable toilets.
"He spends a lot of time on the telephone," Jean Moore said.
Besides serving on the fair board and doing some maintenance work, Jean Moore also helps run the fair pop stand.
"I usually spend a day buying candy for the concession stand," she said. "And then you've got to order the ice and pop."
Then she spends every day of the fair working in the stand.
"It's fun to see the little kids come up," she said. "When they order, you have to go by their little fingerpoints to figure out what they want."
Once the fair ends, the couple are back out at the fairgrounds the next day picking up trash, stacking bleachers and waiting for items such as the dumpsters to be picked up.
"Then we can breathe a sigh of relief for two weeks or so," Gerald Moore said.
Then they meet with the rest of the fairboard at least once a month, preparing for the next year's fair.
They both said it's worth all of the work.
"Oh, yeah, we say before it gets started 'Oh, I don't know if we can do this again,'" Jean Moore said. "But afterwards, we're so glad we did."
Gerald Moore said they couldn't do all of the work alone.
"Without community volunteers, we couldn't do it," he said. "It's part of being in the community."