Community days energize town

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September 29, 2011 - 12:00 AM

KINCAID — When more than 100 runners take a couple of laps around Kincaid Saturday morning in the 8 a.m. kick-off of Saturday events for the 101st Kincaid Fair, most won’t be too long in the tooth. Nonetheless, the 5-kilometer run — there’s also  a 1.5-mile walk — will have a very definite inter-generational flavor.
“It’s good to see the younger generation step in and get involved” in the fair, said Irene Louk, in her 40th year as superintendent of the flower department. “They’re the ones that eventually are going to take over when we (her generation) can’t.”
This, the second Kincaid Fair run, has more of a community purpose than to get the circulatory system percolating after a night’s sleep.
“The money we raise will go to buy exercise equipment for the community center,” noted LeAnn Church, one of the organizers and an eager participant.
Money will come from fees and sponsorships.
The community center, in the old Kincaid High School, is a work in progress.
“The equipment will give us a place to exercise when we can’t be outdoors,” running or walking, said Church, who graduated from Iola High School in 1997 as LeAnn Nelson and was involved in track and cross country as a student.
Ditto for older Kincaid and area residents, who will take advantage of the exercise emporium throughout the year, Louk observed.
Some of the runners Saturday will participate in teams. Church will be in a team with her niece and nephew, Leah and Ryan Weir, Iolans now students at Pittsburg State, and her sister, Lori Nelson, a counselor and track and cross country coach at Prairie High School.
Church, who lives on a farm two miles east of Kincaid with husband Travis and their children, Trevor, 6, and Theo, 3, is more involved than just with the run at this year’s fair. She is the student department superintendent, a commitment that involved extensive cleaning of showcases Wednesday afternoon ahead of when a crush of exhibits started flowing in today.
“Sure a lot of dust collects in a year’s time,” said Church, as she scrubbed glass fronts, shelves and mirrored backs.
“Here, too,” injected Louk, from the other side of the building where she and her assistant, Susan White, also had cleaned display areas and were arranging some flowers to get an early start on entries.
“We usually have about 300 flower entries,” Louk said, but allowed that heat and drought affected them just as it did area crops.
“We probably won’t have over 250 — maybe 270 — entries this year,” White said, although many gardeners of enthusiasm give Mother Nature a hand with hose and hoe.

THE FAIR is more than just a chance for exhibitors to strut their stuff, Louk observed.
“It really a big homecoming,” she said. “Each year everyone is eager to see old friends, some they haven’t seen since the last year’s fair.”
The fair starts today, but Saturday is the focal point and that’s when the southeastern Anderson hamlet will swell from less than 200 full-time residents to 2,500 or more. Saturday’s forecast calls storybook weather, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to upper 70s.
Humboldt’s Biblesta may keep a few people away, but the opposite may be more true.
“We like to go to Biblesta,” Church said, “but it’s been several years since we’ve been able to because it and the fair have been on the same day.”
Antique farm machinery is on display today and a free bean feed, topped off with homemade ice cream, will get folks into a fair frame of mind early this evening. Also this evening will be a pedal tractor pull and cash grab for kids. “Holy Cows” will entertain with popular and gospel music starting at 7:30.
Throughout today exhibits will be checked in and judging will start at 8 a.m. sharp on Friday.
A senior citizens’ turtle race starts at 4 p.m. Friday and P.U.S.H., a contemporary Christian band, will play at 6 p.m. Bingo will occupy fairgoers at 7:30.
The 2011 fair queen will be crowned at 1:15 Saturday, just before the start of the parade, featuring Marvelle Harris and Alice Stansbury as grand marshals. Each has been involved in many aspects of the fair for years, as well as community events.
In addition to the run and walk, fairgoers will have a horseshoe pitching contest, pie baking contest and horse judging to occupy them Saturday morning.
Immediately following the parade will be races for kids, dryland turtle races, a puppet show and garden tractor pull. Also in the afternoon will be a water balloon toss, tug of war, frozen T-shirt challenge, buffalo chip tossing, needle threading for men and draft horse pull.
Evening entertainment will feature Glenda and Mike’s Mysteries and Wonders Show, a family event that combines illusions, ventriloquism and comedy.
Throughout the fair Toby’s Carnival will be accessible in downtown Kincaid and booths will offer a variety of food to fill tummies and raise money for civic causes.

ALL THAT the fair offers comes with a price tag, which is met each year by donations from local people and businesses, as well as those in area towns. Donations this year totaled about $13,000 and Anderson County commissioners kicked in $12,800.
Those who trek to Kincaid the first weekend of October each year say whatever the fair costs would be cheap at twice the price.

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