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Crowds gather in Vandalia for Prairie Days

Posted on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at 7:47 pm

By Julia Polston

Last Saturday, Vandalia held its annual Prairie Days. This annual event was full of fun and informative historical events for those who attended.

The day started off bright and early with a 7 a.m. 5K run. Then, at 10 a.m., vendors began opening their booths. At 10:30 a.m. the LaFemme pie sales began at the historical church, followed by the parade at 11 a.m.

The parade included a color guard, the Van-Far High School Chiefs Band, local motorcyclists, member of the VFW and Auxiliary, local first responders, local businesses, Waters Funeral Home, Conner’s Avengers, The Van-Var Middle School softball team, The Var-Far Middle School football team, Dot’s Crazy Farm, Vandalia First Christian Church, Baptist Homes Tri-County, Standard Wellness, two mustangs and a second-generation Ford truck. There were also politicians who are running for office, a large number of tractors, the Van-Far Class of 1963, and some children riding horses and ponies.

After the Parade, a recognition for the V-F Ambulance District and the Sheriff Department commenced. After which, The Kansas City Chiefs Mascot, K.C. Wolf, spoke about his experience as a mascot and how it’s changed his life.

“Nov. 23 2013, was a Saturday,” Dan Meers, the man inside the mascot suit. “I woke up bright and early that morning, I drove to a little town up in Northern Missouri, called Chilicothe. I was there for their holiday parade. After the Parade was over I drove back to Arrowhead Stadium, in Kansas City, where I was going to practice a stunt that I was going to perform the next day at the Chiefs game. I was going to bungee jump and zip line into our stadium. We hired a company to come in and put up a zip line from a set of lights at the top of the stadium to the other side of the football field where it hooks on to another set of lights. Then they attached a bungee cord to that zip line.

“This did not go as planned that day because, when I jumped out of the lights, I was supposed to fall about 20 feet and the bungee cord was supposed to catch me, bounce me back into the air where I would zip line out across the field. However, there was too much slack in the zip line that day, and instead of falling 20 feet I fell 70 feet.

“I hit the seats in the upper level of our stadium. I hit them so hard I knocked two seats out of the concrete. After I hit my body went into shock, I was just shaking, and I was really struggling to breathe. At that point I was just scared and wanted to get down, unfortunately, you can’t get off a zip line until you are on the other side, so the bungee cord jolted me back and I continued to zip line across the stadium.

“Once I got to the hospital, they did several tests and CAT scans. They found that I had seven broken ribs on my left side, and I had also collapsed my left lung. I shattered my tailbone and cracked my sacrum, got a big gash on the back of my left leg. They also found my worse injury, I broke the t12 vertebrae in my back.

“I spent nine days in the hospital and did six months of therapy and rehab.

“Today, I want to share the three greatest lessons I learned while I was in the hospital. The first is to live everyday with character, purpose, and with passion. The second, is that the most important things in life are relationships. The third lesson I learned is, everybody has something to complain about and everybody has something to be thankful for—whichever one you choose to focus on will determine your attitude for the day,” said Meers.

While Meers was talking about life lessons, the Kids Area opened up. There were fun games, bounce houses, a kiddie train, a petting zoo, and pony rides.

Then at 1p.m., other activities for the event started, including a horseshoe tournament, a scavenger hunt at the Vandalia Area Historical Society Museum, and a cornhole tournament.

At 2 p.m., people could play bingo if they wanted. Then at 4 p.m., a kid’s magic show started at the small stage on Main Street. Shortly after that, a car cruise made its way through town.

Two bands rounded out the day’s entertainment—the first being the Liz Moriondo Band at 5 p.m. and the second was Big Time Grain Band at 7:30 p.m.

The sponsors for this event were: AG Auto & Diesel, Bienhoff Funeral Home, Boland Chevrolet, Harbison-Walker Canteen, Cordelio Power, Valencia’s Mexican Restaurant, CE Grain, Ennis Implement, Consolidated Electric Poet, State Farm Ins. Agency, Ramsey Dickerman, Tri-Star, Larry Stotler Service & Supply, Coop Shelter Insurance, Frank Wallace, Standard Wellness, Waters Funeral Home, Central Bank, Culwell Seed & Service, Treyson Culwell, Jensen Auto Body, Poage Auto Group, Scott’s Towing, Vandalia Florist, Wallace Seed, Chad Wallace, Wilburn Seed, Jay Wilburn, Vandalia Dairy Queen, Pearl Motor Co., Farmer’ & Laborers’ Ins. – Tracy Wilburn, and United Credit Union.