Thursday, Aug. 8
Antique quilt and apron show, all day
Old time and modern farm skills competition, 2 p.m.
Horseshoe pitching training, 2 p.m.
Poultry show, 6:30 p.m.
Talent show, 6 p.m.
Exhibits in place, 7 p.m.
Baldwin high school band performance, 7 p.m.
Rabbit show, 7 p.m.
Flower show, 7:15 p.m.
Alferd Packer Memorial String Band, 7:30 p.m.
Food: Vinland Valley 4-H will serve a lunch and dinner of pork burgers, hot dogs, chili dogs and Indian tacos
Friday, Aug. 9
Stock bicycle races, 10 a.m.
Sack races, 12 p.m.
Softball throw, 12 p.m.
Tug of war, 12 p.m.
Antique tractor pull, 7 p.m.
Walt Babbitt and the Roots of Country band, 7:30 p.m.
Food: Vinland Fair volunteers will serve a lunch and dinner of homemade chicken and noodles, barbecue beef and pork
Saturday, Aug. 10
Horseshoe pitching, 9 a.m.
Box turtle race, 11 a.m.
Pet parade, 11 a.m.
Livestock judging, 1 p.m.
Pedal tractor pull, 2:30 p.m.
Watermelon seed spitting contest, 3:30 p.m.
Lawn and garden tractor driving skills competition, 5 p.m.
Home made ice cream making competition, 7 p.m.
Bluestem band, 7:30 p.m.
Food: Vinland fair volunteers will serve a lunch and dinner of beef brisket, barbecue beef and pork
Directions to the Vinland Fairgrounds (1736 N. 700 Road)
- Go south Haskell Avenue, then continue onto E. 1500 Road
- Turn left onto County Road 458
- Turn right onto E. 1600 Road
- Continue onto E. 1650 Road
- Continue straight onto N. 700 Road. The fairgrounds will be on the left.
At the Vinland Fair, it’s the simple things that matter: the homemade fruit pies served with a dollop of hand-churned ice cream, the folksy tunes of a string band and the few hours spent with family and neighbors watching a sack race or just enjoying some time spent outdoors.
This week, residents of Vinland and the surrounding area will have a chance to take a step back in time.
“It takes you to another time in rural life,” said Nora Cleland, honorary member of the fair board. “I think people feel a certain nostalgia.”
The 106th annual Vinland Fair runs from Thursday through Saturday at the Vinland fairgrounds, which is located north of Baldwin City in Vinland Valley, 1736 N. 700 Rd. It is free and open to the public.
Some of the popular events are a talent show Thursday evening, Saturday morning’s pet parade and a number of children’s activities on Friday, including bicycle races, a tug-of-war and an antique tractor pull.
The fair also hosts textile and floral displays, livestock shows, live music and offbeat competitions like a box turtle race, a watermelon seed spitting contest and a tractor driving skills contest, in which drivers are blindfolded and directed by a passenger.
“It’s like the old-fashioned country fairs,” Cleland said. “There is no carnival, there are no commercial exhibits. It is all homemade entertainment.”
'A big community gathering'
Cleland moved to a farm near Vinland in the 1940s, and was an attendee at the fair each year until 1985, when she joined the fair board. Her forte was running the food stand, which doles out barbecue beef and pork dinners, fruit pies and the signature meal of chicken and noodles.
Though she enjoys viewing the handmade scarecrows, hearing people shout and cheer during the tug-of-war and watching the “youngsters” show their chickens and sheep, Cleland said her favorite aspect of the fair is how it continues to bring people together.
“It’s seeing the people, the neighbors, those who come back,” Cleland said.
The story is the same for Jean Moore, who started volunteering with the fair in 1968 and joined the board in 1985.
“When I came up here about 47 years ago, I just thought it was really something special,” Moore said. “It’s a big community gathering.”
Moore will run the concession stand at the fair this week, selling pop, candy and homemade ice cream with her two grandsons.
“We have young people who have been here and grew up and then come back. I have a couple grandsons that come and help me; both live at a distance,” Moore said. “It’s about family. We have families here who work together.“
Cleland said that family is how the fair began.
According to the Vinland Grange and Fair collection at Spencer Research Library, residents of Vinland organized the first Vinland Grange Fair in 1874. The name was changed to the Vinland Fair in 1977, and it has been held consecutively since 1907.
“Part of it started as a kind of family reunion,” Cleland said. “Most of those people aren’t with us anymore, but it is still kind of a reunion for people. You see people you don’t see all year.”
Parking and admission are free, and the fair is open to the public. Cleland recommends arriving at 4:30 or 5 p.m. on Friday to avoid long lines for the chicken and noodle dinner.
"If you come much later than that, it will be a block long," Cleland said. "But people still have fun visiting in line."