Vinland Fair returns with ‘simple’ entertainment
Those curious can get a idea of what the Vinland Fair is like by looking at the village from which it gets its name.
Vinland is a place where chickens run in streets anchored by well-maintained but empty storefronts and which features five buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The fair, which features games like sack races and tug of war but no carnival, also harkens back to earlier times.
“We try to keep it simple,” said Vinland Fair Board President Mike Craig. “As a board, we’ve thrown around ideas before about how to make it bigger, but we didn’t think it was right.
“I don’t think people come for entertainment, although we have a lot of that, so much as to visit with friends and eat good food.”
The 105th Vinland Fair is set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the fairgrounds on the north side of the rural community. The fair charges no admission, and parking is free.
“It doesn’t cost much, but people are free to spend as much as they like on food,” Craig said.
Profits from the food and concession stands operated by volunteers provide the main financial support of the fair.
Featured during the fair’s three days are exhibits, live music, the livestock, poultry and rabbit shows and the antique tractor pull. Food offerings will include homemade meals and fruit pies and a concession stand selling pop, ice cream and candy.
On the fair’s opening day, Thursday, entries in the home economics, youth and 4-H, crop and garden and floral departments will be received in the Exhibit Building — one of those five buildings on the national registry — from 2 to 7 p.m. The opening afternoon also will feature contests of old-time farm skills, such as corn shelling and log sawing, and a teaching session for young and old on horseshoe pitching.
Thursday evening’s schedule includes the talent show at 6 p.m., the poultry show at 6:30 p.m. and the rabbit show at 7 p.m. The Baldwin High School band will perform at 7 p.m. A 7:30 p.m. performance by the Alfred Packer Memorial String Band will conclude the day’s entertainment.
Friday’s program features stock bicycle races at 10 a.m. and the popular children’s sack races and tug of war. There will be an antique tractor pull at 7 p.m. The evening program also will include a concert by the Rural Harmony Band at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday’s busy program begins with the horseshoe-pitching contest at 9 a.m. The pet parade and box turtle race will be at 11 a.m. Livestock judging follows at 1 p.m.
Other afternoon programs include the pedal tractor pull at 2:30 p.m. and the watermelon seed-spitting contest at 3:30 p.m.
The evening programs begin at 5 p.m. with the lawn and garden tractor driving skills contest, followed by the homemade ice cream competition. One of the most popular features of the evening program is the serving of the ice cream entries to those in attendance. The Witness Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. to conclude the fair.
The fair means a lot to the people of the Vinland community, Craig said. Residents schedule visits from grandchildren for the fair and many former residents during its three days, he said.
But it also serves as an introduction into the community.
“Our community is growing, too,” he said. “There’s lot of people who come to the fair who say they’ve never been here before. Now that my kids are out of school, I see lots of young couples I’ve never seen before.”