August serves up fun events
Much like July is always hot and, at least recently, void of rain, August just seems to be the busiest time of when summer melts into fall. This year is certainly no exception, especially with the switch from June for Thomas the Tank Engine's second Baldwin stay.
When it was announced in the spring that Thomas would be here in August, it was easy to see the change would make a difference. Last year's inaugural event was a surprise to everyone because no one knew what to expect. When the two weekends worth of Thomas were sold out -- all 16,000 tickets -- there were more than a few eyebrows raised.
As this year's version neared closer all eyes were on ticket sales again. This time, there wasn't a sell out for either weekend, at least yet. Still, last week's first taste of Thomas came close to a sell out with walk-up customers. This week's finale could still do it, too.
Regardless, Thomas has been a hit again. I made several trips out Friday, Saturday and Sunday to see how it was going. While attendance varied, there were always plenty of youngsters just having a ball and that's all that really matters. August heat didn't seem to be bothering them too much, but I can't say the same about parents and grandparents. It's hot.
I was also a little concerned with the near rain on Friday. Unfortunately, the rain didn't amount to much, but it did cool things off. Friday's trips on Thomas had to be the best because of that. And, the Midland Depot area was well prepared to provide shade from the heat, so there certainly wasn't any problem with protection from what little rain fell.
Thomas or no Thomas, we'd all like to see some rain.
Also on that busy slate for August is one of my favorite events -- the Vinland Fair. It's set for its 96th run Thursday through Saturday at the Vinland Fairgrounds and is well worth the short jaunt north.
The food alone is worth the trip, but there's plenty more to one of southern Douglas County's favorite blasts from the past. This is a real fair, without the commercialization that's come to the state and county fairs. It's just good, clean family fun.
It's also fun to watch the community of Vinland come together to make it all happen. Everyone does their part and it's no small task. Thankfully, one of the best efforts is keeping plenty of homemade fruit pie available. Now that's hard to beat.
There are a few new items for this year's event, but it's still the same old Vinland Fair that always provides a heaping helping of Vinland hospitality. If you haven't tried it, do. If you have been there before, don't miss it.
Another thing that August always means is the return to school and that always makes for plenty to do. Enrollment was Tuesday and new this year were school pictures at the same time. I'll be interested to see how that turned out.
Of course with the new school year, all eyes will be on the new elementary school in Baldwin. It should be a great addition to the quality educational facilities that Baldwin has to offer. It should also provide the room necessary to maintain that quality as the city continues to grow.
There have also been improvements made at Marion Springs and Vinland elementary schools, as well as Baldwin Junior High School, so this school year should get off to a good start. Oh, yes, it's back to school in Baldwin Aug. 14-15. Where did the summer go?
Of course I have to admit what gets me fired up about the start of school is football. Not just Baldwin High, the junior high or our elementary and Baker Wildcats, but the game in general.
I love high school, college and pro football. Heck, I just love the game. That's why I'm a little perplexed by what Monday night's Chiefs game means for the season. I still can't get used to football rainouts, even though I've seen several in the past few years.
I was fired up to watch the Chiefs and all went well until the Hall of Fame game got halted. What a bummer. But at least the Chiefs "won" and -- amazingly enough after last year's defensive disasters -- they did it with a shutout.
But it hit me Tuesday morning why I was even more bummed about the game being called. I want that rain they had in Canton, Ohio. I want it now.