Sandwich Fair Open Show deadline is approaching

Former Plano resident Mabel Sandmann admires the blue ribbon flowers in the horticultural building during last year's Sandwich Fair.
Former Plano resident Mabel Sandmann admires the blue ribbon flowers in the horticultural building during last year's Sandwich Fair.

Longtime and first-time exhibitors hoping to win the coveted blue ribbons at the Sandwich Fair are being celebrated by the Sandwich Fair Association, according to its president, Larry Dannewitz.  

The 130th annual Sandwich Fair will be held Wednesday, Sept. 6, through Sunday, Sept. 10, at the fairgrounds on Suydam Road just west of Sandwich.

The fair has provided friendly competition since the the fall of 1888, the first Sandwich Fair. Some of the exhibitors are first-timers and some are occasional, while many follow a family tradition set many generations ago by their forefathers.

Because it’s the last fair of the season, winners in earlier fairs of the year, throughout the area, bring their finest to Sandwich, hoping to be known as the best-of-the-best.  

They bring selected livestock and poultry, handmade tablecloths and windmills, specimen roses and tomatoes, photographs of children and scenery, homemade pickles and breads, as well as collections of old comic books and newer toys to compete. The entries are all displayed in specific buildings and areas of the fairgrounds, arranged for fairgoers’ viewing.

The Open Show’s filled-in entry forms and the $20 entry fee can be hand-delivered to the Sandwich Fair Association office, 1406 Suydam Road, Sandwich, no later than 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23.

The forms and fee can be mailed, with a postmark dated by Aug. 23, to: The Sandwich Fair Association, P.O. Box 129, Sandwich, IL 60548. Persons can also enter the fair’s competitions by going on the fair’s website at sandwichfair.com, then selecting Online Entries For Exhibitors for assistance and instructions. Once entries are submitted, no changes or additions are allowed.

The livestock entries are more detailed. They are for poultry, rabbits, beef and dairy cattle, halter and hitch draft horses, sheep, goats and hogs. They are limited to space available, using the date and time stamped on the entry when it’s received.

The Sandwich Fair is an old-fashioned event held on oak-shaded grounds that’s grown over the years to nearly 200 acres. There’s free entertainment that ranges from the Banjo Buddies Dixieland Trio, to the FFA farm zoo, to the shows on the Ag Stage, and to displays of antique farm machinery in the center of the Otto miniature steam train’s railroad tracks.

The new Hospitality Building, west of the Home Arts Building, is where many folks find a spot to rest and visit while seated at picnic tables, hosted by welcoming townspeople.

The 2017 gate admission prices are $9 for adults, and $6 for children ages 6 through 12. Children 5 and under get in free. Season adult tickets are $22 and season child tickets are $8. Parking is free.

Children Free Day is Wednesday, Sept. 6, when children 12 and younger are admitted free at the gate. Senior Citizen Bargain Day is Thursday, Sept. 7, when they are admitted at the gate for $6 until 5 p.m. Bargain Day and Armed Forces Day is Friday when, until 5 p.m., everyone is admitted for $6, and those currently serving in the military with military I.D. are admitted free. 

Everyone is invited to the Sandwich Fair that offers a casual, country atmosphere. There are local churches and organizations participating in the historical event, some of them serving fair visitors for nearly 100 years. 

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