Several motorcycle riders escorted four flatbed trailers full of veterans, who were this year’s Prairie Days Grand Marshals, during the parade held on Saturday, September 28 in Vandalia.
Another Vandalia Prairie Days Festival is in the history books in spite of the weather. With rain in the forecast, festival goers crossed their fingers and hoped for the best. Saturday morning’s schedule of events were free of the anticipated rain. However, Mother Nature let the rains fall in the early afternoon, resulting in a few events being cancelled and one to be relocated.
The days events started with the 5K/10K run or walk. Lathyn McMorris was the first runner to cross the 5K finish line and Bill Steiner was the first to finish the 10K race.
McMorris took first place in the 20 and under category with a time of 22:08. Josh Hodde came in second with 26:08, and Daylan Chandler was third with 26:25.
In the ages 20-40 mens category, Chad Troy took first place with a time of 26:23, followed by Jeremy Hodde in second with 28:25, and Jarred Basket in third with 28:29.
Rachel Williams took first place in the ages 20-40 women’s category with a time of 28:16, Greta Hopke came in second at 32:28, and Jennifer Jones claimed third place at 34:34.
In the ages 41 and over category, Mike Fitzgerald ran down first place with a time of 23:04, Brandon Wright took second at 31:35, and John Butcher nabbed third at 36:27.
Cindy Kohl was the first woman in the ages 41 and over 5K run, followed by Janice Albright, and Debbie Barnes.
In the 10K run, Steiner finished in first place with a time of 53:29. Felicity Goodpasture-Culwell was the first woman to cross the finish line at 53:38. In second, Susan Ferrel completed the race at 1:01:53 and Connie Hesse in third at 1:02:41.
At 9 a.m. in front of the Main Stage, parents of babies and kids showed up for the Baby Show/Little Mister and Little Miss contest.
The Girls Baby Grand Champion was Lillian Martin. Lillian is the daughter of Robert and Julie Martin.
The Boys Baby Grand Champion was Jax Steffen. Jax is the son of Brandon and Mallory Steffen.
Landon Pease was named Little Mister and Chloe Wallace was named Little Miss for the 2013 Prairie Days contest.
Mr. Landon is the son of Jared Pease and Alacia Wallace. Ms. Chloe is the daughter of Chad and Annie Wallace.
In the boys division, Carson Eckhoff and Jackson Fischer tied for first place, Corbin Roed came in seconds, and Kashton Rhodes in third.
In the girls division, Madison Shelton and Jacy Lowrance tied for first place, Kylie Dameron came in second, and Lindsay Jones in third.
Also from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., the LaFemme Arts Club sponsored a Quilt Show and Elementary Art Show at the First Baptist Church multi-purpose building. The art show was well attended by many enthusiastic students, parents, and many others who appreciate the beauty and art of quilting.
Of the nearly 50 quilts and wall hangings on display, the quilt which was voted the favorite by those attending was a Wedding Ring quilt. It was pieced and quilted by Sybil Jackson. She started this quilt in the late seventies or early eighties, and it was finished and bound by Susan Masulit after Sybil passed away in 2011. Sybil’s daughter, Lynda Williams, now has the quilt in her possession.
At 11 a.m., Main Street was lined with people young and old, anxiously waiting for the start of the Prairie Days parade. As the parade approached, the joyful sounds of the Van-Fair High School band filled the air.
Escorted by numerous motorcyclists, local veterans acted as the parade’s grand marshals. As the four veterans floats passed by, the crowd showed their appreciation and respect by clapping and cheering.
Once the veterans reached the parade reviewing stand, everyone stood still while the Van-Far band played the national anthem. Kids and maybe some of the adults enjoyed collecting candy being thrown out from many of the floats. The parade consisted of everything from classic tractors to class reunions floats.
The Corn Husking Contest kicked off at 12 p.m., and a suprise development was a crowning of a new champion.
In the ages 6-11 year old bracket, Devin Fleming won first place, Hunter Houghton followed in second, and Aubrey Bunge came in third.
Brittany Bixby took first place honors in the ages 12-21 year old bracket, with Gabi Deters in second, and Katie Elzea in third.
In the ages 21 and over bracket, Paul Gore took first place, Marlene Fischer in second, and Warren Nation in third.
For the finals, Devin Fleming won first place, Paul Gore came in a close second, and Brittany Bixby took third.
The rain moved in quickly around 1 p.m., resulting in the 3-on-3 basketball tournament being moved to the Van-Far Elementary school gymnasium. New parental consent forms had to be filled out and signed, which moved the start time to 2:30 p.m.
In the boys 9-12 grade bracket, the Community R-VI team, consisting of Connor Brooks, Lane Thebeau, and Clay Thebeau took first place.
The Bowling Green team consisting of Ryan Reynolds, Hayden Comer, and Quintan Jennings took second.
In the girls 9-12 grade bracket, the Elite team consisting of Reaghan Case, Jordan Garner, and Jayda Borgmeyer took first place.
The 6-8 grade boys Blaze team consisting of Trey Miller, Caden Wilburn, Trevor Lower, and Payton Davis won first place, followed by a three-way tie for second.
Van-Far team one consisted of Colin Wilburn, Sam Middleton, Rylee Hanson, and Aidan Lowrance.
Van-Far team two consisted of Colton Jensen, Logan Wilson, and Treyson Culwell.
Van-Far team three consisted of Dylan Harvey, Verdell Johnson, Seth Lile, and Verlin Johnson.
There was also a two-way tie for first place in the 6-8 grade girls bracket. The All-Stars team consisting of Alex Connaway, Gina Clausen, and Jaylee Jennings, along with the Shooters team consisting of Katie Elzea, Madalyn Norton, Brittany Bixby, and Gabi Deters.
In the 4-5 grade boys bracket, the Van-Far team consisting of Preston Burnett, Trenton Lower, and LaTrell Wright won first place. The girls Hot Shots team consisting of Panna Connaway, Audrey Dean, and Emma Barnes also took first place.
The Three Stooges team consisting of Nikos Connaway, Gage Gibson, Carter Jennings, and Reece Culwell claimed first place in the boys 1-3 grade bracket. In the girls bracket, Van-Far team one consisting of Tylee DeTienne, Mara Jensen, Molly Norton, and Klair Elzea took first place and Van-Far team two consisting of Carmen Wilburn, Gracy Deter, and Natalie Bybee came in second.
The Super Farmer contest was supposed to take place in front of the Main Stage, but was canceled due to rain. Later on at 3 p.m., the Outhouse Races were also cancelled.
The Blue Steel Rail concert scheduled for 3 p.m. on the Main Stage, was moved to the basement of the First Christian Church.
At one point it looked as if the weather wasn’t going to let up. However, the clouds parted and the sun came out, allowing the Joe Cole Comedy Magic show to take place on the Main Stage as planned.
While cautionary measures were taken to cover the stage and equipment, the rain stayed away and the Travis Gibson Band was able to perform and bring the 2013 Prairie Days festival to a close.