Archive for Thursday, August 26, 2004

Catching up on a few loose fair ends

August 26, 2004

It's always the same. August just gets really busy, really fast. The start of school always does that and this year is no different.

I've been caught up in that, as always, so much so that I haven't made my Vinland Fair observations. This year's event just went flying by with everything else. But, it was certainly a fair to remember.

It's safe to say that this year's 97th version was one of the most widely attended fairs, if not the most. As long-time Vinland Fair veteran Nora Cleland said, there's no way to accurately count noses to know for sure how many attended. That makes comparing years impossible.

But it was obvious from many angles that there were more people there than usual. The parking lot was the first clue. The lines awaiting the famous Vinland food was another. The fact that the featured food item vanished quickly each night made it very clear.

As much as I look forward to that food every year, I have to report that I did not have one single morsel of Vinland Fair food this year. With the shortage, I decided I'd do my part and let others enjoy it. I'm sure they did.

I did stand in line the first night for the Vinland PTO's Mexican food. But, it was gone before I got a shot at it. So were the cheese burgers. All that was left was hotdogs. No, thanks.

Although I probably love the chicken and noodles most of all, I didn't even attempt that on the second night. When I saw the parking lot packed and the line extending to the road, I passed. Of course, it helped that the Kansas City Chiefs were playing their first game of the season, so I was more than happy to watch that instead.

On the last night of the fair, the barbecue brisket was gone by 6:05 p.m. I know that because I was working the food booth that night taking orders and was the lucky one that got to tell everyone, "it's gone."

It was possibly toughest to miss out on the pie. I delivered pie, saw lots of it and sold plenty, but I did not have a single piece. It was interesting to hear different theories, etc., while taking orders. I always asked if they wanted pie. The majority, of course, said yes. Many said they'd already had it. Others said they'd wait. I advised them not to take a chance on missing it. Most agreed and got their ticket. The funniest answer I got was, "no, I better not. I've had at least two pieces every day."

Probably my best observation of this year's fair, though, came from watching those crowds get there every night. You can always tell it's Vinland Fair time when all the cars turn right at Vinland instead of left.

I also think it's safe to say that the unusual August weather had as much to do with attendance as anything. The weather, much like the fair, was fabulous.

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