Vinland Volunteers daubed paint on the livestock barn Monday night while others put finishing touches to the newly renovated exhibit building. All was in anticipation of the 91st annual Vinland Fair, a three-day event that starts Thursday.
``It's unique because it's a community fair, not a county fair,'' said Nora Cleland, who with her husband, Miles, is co-president of the Vinland Fair Board. ``It was founded by the Vinland Grange. When they realized that membership (in the Grange) was slipping, they had it rechartered as the Vinland community fair, which in fact it had been for many years.''
The fair is similar to a county fair, but smaller and perhaps more quaint because commerce on the grounds is limited to local food vendors. There is no carnival or other outside hawkers plying fair-goers.
Concession privileges are limited to local groups such as Kansas Grassroots Arts Assn. and Extension homemakers who split their earnings with the fair, which is supported mostly by food sales, Cleland said.
``County money is appropriated by the commissioners,'' Cleland said, ``for the premium lists, the prizes like the food and the exhibits and the 4-H livestock and so on. But the remainder of the expenses are covered by the community through the food stands.''
Admission to the fairgrounds, which are adjacent to Vinland Airport, is free.
All the food, including fried chicken, chicken and noodles, barbecue, and homemade ice cream is prepared by local cooks.
``The chicken and noodles on Friday night are delicious,'' Cleland said. ``Those women make delicious noodles. I was watching the other day. They were kind of showing off making all kinds of pastas because they can do that with their machines. It was some of the most beautiful pasta I've ever seen.''
Cleland cooks the chicken. The best pieces get fried, she said. The rest stews with the noodles.
The Vinland Fair food stands also are famous for the fruit pies, she said.
The biggest draw at the fair is the antique tractor pull on Friday night, which attracts participants from three states. The crowd that night will range between 1,000 and 1,500 people, Cleland predicted.
Thursday's schedule includes: An antique engine show, rabbit and poultry shows, and the Lonesome Hobos Band at 8 p.m.
Friday, there will be sack and bicycle races and a tug-of-war. The tractor pull starts at 7 p.m. The Witness Band plays at 8 p.m.
Saturday, the livestock judging begins at 1 p.m. The homemade ice cream contests begins at 7 p.m. with portions available later for 25 cents each. At 7:30 p.m. Jeff Nelson and Crow Canyon Band perform.
-- Mike Shields' phone message number is 832-7144. His e-mail address is email@example.com.