The annual Grabill Country Fair will mark its 48th year Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 9-11. Visitors will find three days of comfort foods, music and other forms of fun on the streets of the town of 1,000 people.
Look for beef-and-noodles dinners in the Fudergong, and other expressions of Grabill’s Amish influence. Pause for the Grabill Country Fair traditional meal from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, noon-8 p.m. Friday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. until the bounty is gone.
Despite a few changes to the event, its footprint has very much stayed the same, even as it’s gotten bigger.
The festival was founded in 1973 by the Grabill Chamber of Commerce, according to the event’s website, which sets annual attendance in the thousands. Like most festivals, the fair took the year off during the pandemic of 2020. And, like most, it’s back.
This year, some modification are being made, including having handwash stations available and optional mask wearing, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve got the monster trucks. We’re supposed to have helicopter rides, but haven’t heard back from them yet. We’ve also got buggy rides, haven’t had them for the last couple years,” board President Rich Colter said.
Colter also reminds people “no skateboarding, no rollerblading, no bicycles and no scooters, since the event is a pedestrian one.“
The event is traditionally held the Thursday, Friday and Saturday after Labor Day and welcomes up to 130 craft vendors from the surrounding area.
Highlighted crafts include woodworking, needlepoint, knitting and crocheting, among many. Dolls, ceramic villages, blown glass objects, lampshades, and whirlybirds are also among craft items offered, according to the website.
On a historic and educational note, visitors can watch demonstrations of crafts of the “by-gone era” as the website states, such as the use of spinning wheels, cornhusk dolls and horseshoeing.
Some children’s activities include participating in spelling bees, frog jumping, a baby crawl, apple peeling, watermelon eating and cherry pit spitting.
On Saturday, Sept. 11, at 10 a.m., the annual parade will take place, with this year’s theme as “Welcoming Back Traditions.”
Awards will be given in the following categories: animal entries, marching units, best use of theme and best commercial entry.
Children of all ages are welcome to enjoy the bounce houses, obstacle course and human hamster balls, Thursday, from 3-9 p.m., Friday from 2-10 p.m., and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Penguinnes Entertainment will set up the inflatables on West Street behind The Old Church Museum.
Musical entertainment will include Dan Heath, Chris Worth, The Chain Gang Barbershop Quartet, and Schafer and Russell. Gospel music will be performed Saturday evening.
More information about the fair is available at https://www.grabillcountryfair.org/.
Grabill Country Fair also sponsors the 20th annual Road Apple Cruise-In on Main Street, on Saturday, Sept. 25, with registration starting at 9 a.m. and the show starting at 11 a.m. The cost of registration is $15. Those who attend are asked to bring a canned good item to help support the Grabill Food Bank. Crafters, direct sales and flea market booths will be located in the Grabill Country Fair building.