Bondville gears up for 'Good ol' country fair'


BONDVILLE -- As board members involved in the annual fair are getting older, others are beginning to take the reins.

"It's a fabulous, good ol' country fair," said Winhall Industrial Society Board member Emmett Dunbar, who is one of the younger people taking over aspects of the fair. "It has all the things you'd expect."

This will be his second year of involvement with the Bondville Fair. He said he takes care of the fairgrounds but also is taking steps towards bringing in new ideas and innovations.

"We want to move in a direction of having new types of exhibits and have information about small businesses in Vermont and a Made in Vermont display," Dunbar said. "These are things that are going to happen in the future."

This year's Bondville Fair will be held from Aug. 22 to 24. It will include various exhibits and displays, amusement rides, games, music and food. The fairgrounds are located at the Bondville Fairgrounds on Route 30. Admission is $10 and $6 for seniors. That includes unlimited amusement rides. The parking, track events, entertainment, exhibits and demonstrations are all free.

As a rough estimate, Dunbar said 2,000 to 4,000 people show up throughout the three days.

There will be new rides and more local artisans are expected to participate. Children's workshops are scheduled to be held in an old schoolhouse replica. The quilt hall is noted for having dozens of quilts.

According to Dunbar, the biggest draw is the truck pull happening on Saturday night.

"There are dozens of pick-up trucks that come from all over New England. There's a pretty good cash prize," he said, adding that the other pull events involving horses, lawn mowers and antique tractors are also popular.

An ATV rodeo on Friday night offers drivers an opportunity to test an obstacle course. Awards will be given based on style, ability and technique of completion.

A petting zoo known as the Friendly Farm inside a bar designated for agriculture displays has also grown in size.

"That's being given a lot of attention," said Dunbar. "We're hoping to have more than a dozen farm animals for children and adults to get familiar with."

Schedules for events are available at

As coordinator of the Ailene Capen Floral Hall, Dunbar assists with getting contests ready for different exhibits. The categories include vegetables, fruit and eggs; plants and cut flowers; hay; preserves and baked goods; needlecraft; and arts and crafts. Prizes in each category will be awarded to adults and those under 16.

Entries will be accepted on Aug. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. and Aug. 22 from 8 to 10 a.m. Dunbar expects anywhere from 80 to 100 exhibits.

The hall will be open for viewing from noon on Friday, Aug. 22, until closing. It will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The fair began 217 years ago and the Ailene Capen Floral Hall was built in 1926. The fairgrounds were flooded during Tropical Storm Irene but the site survived. Dunbar said all the repairs were taken care of.

"The carnival ride operators, they stayed up all night, packed up and left before it flooded. It was a very dramatic time," said Dunbar. "The Bondville Fair was ending as Irene was beginning. We were pretty worried we were going to lose buildings. One was damaged. A lot of debris needed to be cleaned from the site but it made it."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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