KINCAID — About 2,500 folks, young and old, embraced a made-to-order balmy fall day Saturday that made the 102nd annual Kincaid Free Fair picture-perfect.
Among the most excited was Morgan Louk, crowned the fair’s queen minutes before an hour-long parade that included bands, floats, politicians touting themselves a month before Election Day and two dozen antique farm tractors restored to mint condition. Louk’s attendants were Madison Covey, first runner-up, Shandra Sedlak, second runner-up, and Carollyn Bradshaw.
The fair started on Thursday, but Saturday was when most activities occurred, including judging of the 30th annual pie-baking contest. Jane Ward’s blackberry delight was the winner, but not until after judges David Briggs and Bonnie Rook, four-year veteran tasters, and newcomer Cindy Hollister decided a run-off with Erin Zook’s gooseberry pie was necessary.
“A tough decision,” said Briggs, who grew up in the area and comes back each year from Lenexa to join the fun. Corky Lynes’ strawberry-rhubard was third.
Hollister being on the panel was happenstance.
She and husband Dana came from Chandler, Ariz., to see what the fair was all about after a discussion with Linda and Henry Moody, long-time participants, at a powered parachute fly-in at Hutchinson.
“We decided we had to see for ourselves,” said Hollister, which led to a call to Moody and an invitation for the Arizonans to drive to Kincaid and spend the weekend.
When pies started to arrive Saturday morning — entries were down a smidgen this year with 10 — the contest was a judge short.
“Linda called at 9:30 and asked if I’d like to be a judge,” Hollister recounted. She was at the judges’ table 30 minutes later.
Patty Ramsey also helped with the contest and figured its age at 30.
“Before that we had a chili contest,” Ramsey said.
TOBY’S CARNIVAL, a part of the fair for 50 or more years and a big draw for scores of kids who came early and darted back to games and rides after the parade, is a staple that makes the fair as inviting as it is, organizers said.
So is the Kincaid Lions Club hamburger stand, which puts all its members to work throughout Saturday.
This year 700 pounds of hamburger was used.
“We cooked up 650 pounds last year,” said Bob Ward, one of several Lions who manned a large grill where 40 burgers were cooked at a time.
Waiting their turns to pay $2.50 for a “Lion Burger” — more for a double or triple or if cheese were added — were people in four lines of 12 to 15. That put a healthy sum in club coffers, which will provide Christmas gifts for kids, glasses for children of poor families and support for Hope Unlimited in Iola.
“We also support a program that trains service dogs for the blind,” Ward said.
Other concession stands were situated along Commercial Street, Kincaid’s main drag, with all sanctioned by the fair committee and limited to those with local and benevolent connections.
Ann Donaldson’s pear cobbler, topped with a glob of ice cream, was a favorite at a stand operated by those who refitted the old Kincaid High School as a community center.
The parade is the single biggest draw. Many arrived an hour or two early to stake out a favorite place to watch.