102nd Vinland Fair concluded Saturday
Vinland Fair 2009
The 102nd Vinland Fair ran Aug. 13-15 at the fairgrounds near Vinland Elementary School, north of Baldwin City.
It’s summertime and the living is easy, especially if you were at the Vinland Fair.
“It’s down home, country fun for the whole family,” said Eva Durand, Baldwin City, whose children were among the throng of competitors in various contests Friday. “The kids love it and it’s fun for the parents, too.”
Mike Craig, president of the fair along with his wife, Julie, grew up with the fair, which is now in its 102nd year at the fairgrounds about four miles north of Baldwin City. As added incentive for the youngsters in the sack race and other contests, about 10 years ago fair officials started awarding top finishers with a coupon to use at the concession stand.
“I don’t know where all the kids come from for the races, but they just come out every year,” said Craig. “It’s great to see those smiles light up their faces when you hand them that card for 50 cents.”
One of the recipients attested to that.
“I like to compete against other people,” said Joss Bathke, 8, Baldwin City. “It’s fun to race.”
Durand likes that, too, but there’s even more to the fair that she likes.
“Truth be told, I think they especially like the extra money to go to the concession stand. That’s nice for parents,” she said. “What I really like is that everybody is happy to be here. It’s fun without electronics or anything that keeps the kids inside. It’s good for them to get outside and have some fun.”
Of course, it’s not just fun and games that brings the crowds to the Vinland Valley every year. It’s all of that homemade food, too, especially the popular chicken and noodles on Friday — and the pie. And, oh, yes, the signature event on Friday night. The one with tractors.
“The tractor pull brings people in and a lot of people come for the chicken and noodles, too,” said Craig. “People come to chat with friends they haven’t seen for years here at the fair.”
There’s also been the good luck of mid August without 100-degree heat.
“There have been good crowds and good attendance,” he said of the first two days of the fair, which concluded Saturday. “Everybody seems to be in a good mood. We can deal with 90 degrees and there seems to be a breeze today, too.”
Saturday’s events included many for the youngsters, such as the box turtle race and pet parade. The fair concluded with music from the Witness Band, just after the homemade ice cream contest, with entries being served up after judging.
“They come out for the ice cream, too,” said Craig. “There is usually a line clear to the food stand waiting for that. We usually have 12-14 ice cream makers going, which gives us a good selection.”
Hope we saw you at the fair.
Staff writer Jimmy Gillispie contributed to this story.