Vinland Fair returns this weekend with 3 days of old-fashioned fun – Lawrence Journal-World

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Even though the Douglas County Fair ended last weekend, it’s still fair time in southern Douglas County, as the annual Vinland Fair will be returning this weekend.

The Vinland Fair will take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the southern Douglas County hamlet of Vinland, and it’s a smaller and more old-fashioned event than the big county fair. It was founded by the local Grange organization in 1907 and has only been canceled once — in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And Vinland Fair board member Julie Craig said the formula has always been the same: letting visitors make their own fun through hands-on contests and games.

That means visitors to the Vinland fairgrounds will find no commercial vendors or carnival. Instead, they can enter a frightening creation in Thursday’s scarecrow contest, or try their hand at driving nails, sawing wood with a two-person saw or throwing hay bales in the fair’s old-time skills contest, also slated for Thursday. On Thursday evening, the fair will feature a talent show.

Children especially are encouraged to take part, with such events as a sack race on Friday and a bicycle race and a pedal tractor pull Saturday afternoon, Craig said.

There are some things the Vinland Fair does have in common with the Douglas County Fair. Visitors will find 4-H and open-class exhibits in the Vinland Fair Barn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and there will be 4-H competitions at the livestock barns, too. Bands will be providing live music every evening of the fair, Craig said, and like the county fair the Vinland Fair has a tractor pull with competitions for both antique and hot-rod machines. The tractor pull is scheduled for Friday.

“After several years of having the tractor pull on Saturday, we’ve moved it back to Friday by popular demand,” Craig said. “We had a lot of comment saying that was a good way to kick off the weekend.”

Lawn tractors will take their turn on the Vinland tractor pull track on Saturday afternoon.

One of the biggest draws of the Vinland Fair is the food served at the two booths on the fairgrounds. Craig said visitors can enjoy pulled pork and brisket dinners and a large selection of pies made by Vinland Valley bakers.

Although Craig said she enjoyed all the contests and events, she did have a favorite. “The highlight for me is the homemade ice cream contest,” she said. Entries in that contest will be served at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The fair invites visitors from Lawrence and elsewhere, but it also serves as a reunion for many in the Vinland Valley community whose family members regularly return to join in the fun, Craig said.

“You see old faces and new faces,” Craig said. “With Baldwin schools starting in August, it seems like a summer wrap-up.”

Vinland is about 8 miles south of Lawrence on County Road 1055, which is Haskell Avenue in Lawrence. A complete schedule of fair events can be found at vinlandfair.com.






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