Archive for Thursday, August 16, 2007

Steamy centennial success

August 16, 2007

It was easily a hot time at the 100th Vinland Fair last week. Temperatures and plenty to do made sure.

With temperatures hovering at the century mark, too, fair-goers had to want it. They did. As usual, the homemade food and family fun brought scores of people, as did new items added for the centennial.

"I think considering the temperatures, it went wonderful," said Nora Cleland, long-time board member of the fair. "The temperatures were extreme, as we knew they would be, but the people still came.

"We would have liked to have had better temperatures and more people," said Cleland. "But, we had good crowds and they seemed to like what we had for them."

Mike Craig, who along with his wife, Julie, are presidents of the fair board, agreed about the heat and the new items added.

"It was one of those years where it was better to be working in the food stand because the fans are on," said Craig. "You'd come out of the food stand and say, 'how can these people take this?' It was miserable.

"But, the people still came out," he said. "It was a good one. The forecasters said it would be like that, so we expected it. For as hot as it was, it was good. We were tickled to death. I think the new things we started worked out. The balloon launch was really great. People really liked that."

The other new items included an antique car and tractor show and a historical display depicting the fair's 100 years. The display, in the air-conditioned Vinland Elementary School gym, became a favorite.

"We had a real good turnout for the historical display," Cleland said. "It was a cool place and people would go tell others about it."

Craig heard a lot of comments about it.

"That was a really neat thing," he said of the display. "It brought back a lot of memories for a lot of people. There was a lot of work put into it by a lot of people. But, Margaret Barnes and Nora Cleland ramrodded it and did a good job."

He also pointed to the extra day as being popular. Usually, the Vinland Fair is over Saturday night. This year, there were Sunday events for the 100th year.

"Sunday went well, too," he said. "It was still hot, but people came out for the little service and the car show."

Long-time fair-goer Ken Martin, a world-class horseshoe pitcher, enjoyed the fair and the tournament he runs.

"I thought that was a very good celebration," said Martin. "I liked the displays and the food was great. I think everyone had a good time. We had our best ever horseshoe tournament. We had a great turnout. We had to turn people away. We'd never had to do that."

It didn't hurt that Martin won the tournament against many top-flight competitors.

"Yes, I did win it," he said. "I won decisively against people who have beaten me before. We had some world tournament entries. I won this tournament once before in the 20 years I've thrown."

A century ago when the fair got its start, August had 100-degree temperatures. That's why it was held later.

"It used to be in late September or early October," said Cleland. "They didn't have an air conditioned house to go to. They knew what it would be like."

It was back in 1962 when the switch was made to August, just after the Douglas County Fair, because of conflicts with school.

Another standby was in place. It was good when it was over for the numerous volunteers that make the event happen.

"We're glad when the weekend is over, especially me," said Craig. "We've just about wrapped it up. I think we've made our last trip over there. We can officially say the fair is over."

For another year, at least. It'll be a short year before it's time for the 101st fair.

"I think that's the plan," he said.

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