Friday at the fair was Ladies Day and Seniors Day. It included many contests and raffle prizes.
Fair director Nancy Thelen planned a collection of old-time games to commemorate Saline’s sesquicentennial. These included pretzel baking, pie baking, corn shucking, sack racing and straw carrying. There was also a contest for 1996 Centennial memorabilia and for men’s facial hair.
Since almost no one signed up for the beard contest, guys were recruited on the spot. Steve Eversole won longest beard hands down. A prize was awarded for longest mustache, but unfortunately Ed Brosius of Salt Springs Brewery wasn’t present. It was awarded to Bill Klager.
There were also prizes for the best groomed and “most colorful” facial hair. Apparently most men in town grew beards for the Centennial Celebration 50 years ago. They were called Brotherhood of the Brush.
Mostly farm children participated in the games. Fifteen participated in the sack races. There were three qualifying heats and the top two finishers in each heat participated in the final.
Ryan Luckhardt won handily while Allie Finkbeiner edged out Kyle Wenk for second.
Seven children and one adult competed in shelling corn by hand. Ryan Luckhardt and Kyle Wenk tied for first while the one adult, Stan Barczak, came in second.
Three teams competed for straw carrying. The children grouped by age, with an older teens group a middle group and a younger group. The young group included Barczak – not so young.
One would suppose the bigger and stronger teens would have won, but they came in third. Technique won out over power.
In the evening there was a talent competition. This event had more participation than it has in the last few years, with 11 children and three adults participating.
Most of the acts were singing, but William and Westin Rogers did a magic act, Bill Poet recited a poem, and Eric Redfern twirled balls of fire. Two singers, Marney Brown, 15, and Savanah Tokarczyk, 15, accompanied themselves on stringed instruments.
The judges awarded Brown first place and Tokarczyk second. Cibila Ross, 14, came in third, Mia Kuzala, 8, fourth, Megan Barnier, 9, fifth and the Rogers brother's magic show took sixth.
Redfern was awarded first in the adult division for his daring fire act. Bill Poet took second for his poem which was a panegyric on farmers.
Participation in some of the literally thousands of competitions the fair committee organizes each year was disappointingly low, but ideal weather produced a healthy turnout. It’s been fun.