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Bad weather forces major changes for Vandalia Area Fair

Posted on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 8:42 am

Jake Gill

Jake Gill

Due to reportedly 14+ inches of rain in recent weeks, the Vandalia Area Fair Association has been forced to cancel all track events scheduled for the July 8-11 Fair.
“It is with sad hearts that we announce all track events and arena events have been canceled,” said the Vandalia Area Fair Association on its Facebook page. “With the 14+ inches of rain we have received at the fairgrounds and more in the forecast, we cannot hold these main events at this time. Our arena and track can’t be worked up, our carnival area is too wet to safely set up rides, and we are unable to park any cars in the parking area…”
Officials are in the process of working with their insurance company, the carnival company (Conner Family Amusements, Inc.) and the City of Vandalia to finalize plans for moving the annual event to the Railroad Park area located in the area of Main and State Streets.
“With what the forecast was calling for, we just knew we were not going to be able to do anything out there (at the fairgrounds),” said Vandalia Area Fair Association President Nancy Jennings.
Fair officials met on Sunday night and worked all day on Monday to start making the changes.
Jennings said the hope is for all of the 12 carnival rides to be able to be placed in the State St. area. Since there are businesses on the street, the carnival would have to be set up each night after businesses close.
Conner Family Amusements, Inc. officials will be coming to Vandalia later in the week to meet with Fair officials to finalize the plans of moving to downtown.
Some concerns have been expressed regarding the electricity requirements that might be needed for the area.
Officials are currently working out insurance requirements in order for the change of venue to become official for the carnival.
There are plans to have free admission to every night of the Fair. A $10 charge will be needed for those wanting to ride the Carnival rides. Children under 3 are free but must wear the wristband.
There will be no Beer Garden at the event. A food stand is expected to be open each night.
Entertainment acts are currently being scheduled for every night of the Fair. The Old Machinery and Antique Tractor Display will be up during the week but there’s no location established as of press time. Due to the lack of space, the display may not be up all week.
Day one of the Fair, which is Wednesday, July 8, features the decorated tricycle/bicycle contest at 5 p.m. at the Post Office with a parade starting down Main St. at 5:30 p.m. It begins at the South School lot.
An Ice Cream and Cake Social will be held inside the old church (Vandalia Historic Center) at 6 p.m.  A Pet Show will be held at 6:30 p.m. Ribbons are awarded to the first three places in each class.
On Thursday, July 9, the Baby Show starts at 6 p.m. The entry fee is $2. Babies ages 0-24 months are to wear white T-shirts and diapers. Plain white shorts are acceptable.
Socks and tennis shoes are also acceptable.
Contest is for boys and girls who have not reached the age of 3 by July 1, 2015.
The Little Mr. and Miss Contest follows at 7:30 p.m. with a $2 entry fee.
Children must be 3-5 years old by July 1, 2015 and must reside within a 30-mile radius of Vandalia. The winner will be expected to ride in the 2016 Fair Parade.
Registration will be held from 7-7:30 p.m.
On Friday, July 10, a Brice Happy Hustlers Display is slated for the old church building (Vandalia Historic Center), if the space permits.
The evening is highlighted by performer Jake Gill at 7 p.m.
Gill is a country singer who once tried out for the show “The Voice” and opened for Jason Aldean at the Country Stampede.
The final day normally features the Cattle Show in the morning but it too has been canceled.
As for area residents who previously purchased season passes, full refunds are being offered. Season pass holders are asked to go back to the location in which they purchased the passes (Vandalia Leader or Central Bank of Audrain County in Vandalia) to receive their refund.
For those who purchased their passes at the United Credit Union, Jennings said to contact her at 573-470-1656 to arrange plans to receive refunds.
“Please be patient as we work out the details, we will post more information as it becomes available,” said the Vandalia Area Fair Association on their Facebook page. “After we get past next week we will be back at work trying to reschedule some of these events in August/September.”
More Entertainment to be scheduled
During the rest of this week, the Vandalia Area Fair Association will be confirming entertainment acts for each night of the Fair. To get the latest information on this year’s evolving Vandalia Area Fair, follow the Fair on Facebook and stay up-to-date through their website at