Attendance suffers at 98th fair
Several inches of rain on Friday and Saturday hurt the attendance and canceled the tractor pull, but didn't stop the 98th Annual Vinland Fair from continuing on.
"We had all of that rain, so attendance was down," said Mike Craig, president of the fair. "There were some disappointments like the tractor pull and the band Saturday night."
Allen Osborn, vice president of the fair, agreed that the rain caused some problems for the fair financially.
"It cut our crowd way down, especially Saturday," Osborn said. "We had to cancel most of the activities that night, except the homemade ice cream contest."
Friday night's antique tractor pull was called off because of the amount of rain that fell earlier that day. The rain came back Saturday and caused the cancellation of a few things.
Craig said one of the problems is not having adequate shelters for the spectators.
"We just don't have very many places to go when it rains," Craig said. "But the die-hards came out Saturday evening and supported us."
Once again the food drew a lot of attention at the fair. This year saw the return of the chicken and noodles, spaghetti dinners and the barbecue beef sandwiches. The fair also had homemade pie slices available everyday.
"The people that came out for the chicken and noodles and the barbecue beef, mostly ate and then left," Craig said. "The hamburger stand didn't do as well, because the tractor pull usually brings out the hamburger crowd."
Osborn said the food was the main reason people came out Friday and Saturday evenings.
"It was about the only attraction on Saturday, of course," Osborn said. "We had a good crowd that came out to eat for a little while Friday."
The fair kicked off Thursday with the old-time farm skills contest, which included the two-person saw and nail driving events. The talent show drew a large crowd Thursday evening and lasted for about an hour, before the Alfred Packer Memorial String Band took over the stage.
Cindy Novelo, who performed in the talent show for her fourth year, loved this year's show.
"It was great, as always, with lots of diversity and lots of fun," Novelo said. "I wish I would have been able to play the fiddle, but my arm is in a cast. It was fun anyway."
The bicycle races, gunny sack races, tug-of-war and foot races started the action Friday.
"We had quite a few kids out for those," Craig said. "It seems like whenever kids are involved, somebody finds a way to bring them out."
Saturday morning drew a large crowd for the horseshoe pitching contest, pet parade and box turtle race. Then the homemade ice cream making contest wrapped up the fair that night.
Throughout the fair, people were asked to bring in memorabilia to be copied for the fair centennial in 2007. Craig said many photos weren't brought in, but the fair committee has plenty of time to collect more memorabilia.
Despite the rain, Osborn said many people were glad to see the rain come during the dry spell.
"We were more than happy to trade the fair for a timely rain like that," Osborn said. "People in this community needed that rain."