Archive for Thursday, August 19, 2004

Button designs highlight Vinland Fair favorites

August 19, 2004

Whether it's the pie or the livestock, the exhibition barn or the tractors, most people have a favorite aspect of the Vinland Fair -- and, if there's any doubt, it can probably be found on a button.

Since 1986, certain aspects of the Vinland Fair have been captured in pictures and used first for buttons, and then aprons and t-shirts.

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"It changes each year," Mary Gensler, a fair board member, said. "The idea is to highlight some part of the fair itself."

Gensler said the idea for the buttons started when the fair board wanted to provide visitors with a memoir of the fair.

"We wanted something that would symbolize the fair," she said.

The first two designs included grapes representing the history of Vinland and the land once used for vineyards.

In 1988, the design changed and incorporated a piece of pie, something Gensler said was an important part of the fair.

"It's one of the things that is always looked forward to, homemade pie," she said. "It's tradition."

The designs continued to change yearly, incorporating items like tractors, the exhibition building, a horseshoe, a cow, a quilting block and even a tomato.

"The tomato sold like hot cakes," Gensler said. "I was surprised. It's funny what the public likes and doesn't like."

She said the fair board generates ideas throughout the year, before narrowing the selection down and voting for one. This year's design was a chicken to highlight the chicken show.

"We try to get something different each year that represents the fair without duplicating too much from previous years," she said.

Some of the designs are more popular than others. Gensler said the designs incorporating the exhibition building are always popular, as are the ones with the tractors. She said the men especially like the tractors.

"When you have one with tractors on it, you always have to get extras," she said.

The buttons always display the year of the fair, she said, though the year is noticeably absent on the aprons and shirts.

"We don't put years on those, so it doesn't show when someone's wearing a shirt that could be six years old," she said.

A new feature to the designs that has only been included the past few years is the word Kansas.

"People don't always know where Vinland is, but they've probably heard of Kansas," she said.

The fair board has always accepted design ideas from the public, but it won't be long before the community can make their ideas for the design to commemorate the 100th Vinland Fair.

Gensler said to celebrate the fair's centennial in 2007, there will be a contest to make the design. She encouraged people to start thinking now about their designs.

"We think this will be something to get the whole community involved," she said.

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