SANDWICH – Bradley Anderson has attended the Sandwich Fair every year since 1979, and like many others, he is excited and looking forward to this year’s event.
The fair was not held last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but planning for this year is underway.
The 2021 Sandwich Fair begins Wednesday, Sept. 8, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 12. The fair, located on 185 acres at 15730 Pratt Road in Sandwich, features agricultural exhibits, commercial venues and a carnival.
Tickets are available at the entrance gate after parking, and parking is included with admission. Admission costs $10 for adults, $7 for children ages 6 to 12 and is free for children age 5 and younger.
On Wednesday, children age 12 and younger enter free. On Thursday before 5 p.m., admission costs $7 for seniors age 65 and older. On Friday before 5 p.m., children age 12 and younger enter free and admission for ages 13 and older is $7. On Sunday after 3 p.m., everyone is admitted for $7.
Five-day season tickets cost $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 6 to 12.
For more information about the Sandwich Fair, as well as the entertainment schedule, visit www.sandwichfair.com.
Anderson, the general manager of the Sandwich Fair Association, spoke to MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton about what’s new at this year’s fair and what visitors can expect.
Milton: What will be different at this year’s Sandwich Fair?
Anderson: We’ve had some vendor turnover, which means there is more space in certain areas because of that, as well as things in different areas. However, everything you know and love about the fair will still be here. It’s going to be what everyone expects and remembers.
Milton: How would you describe the fair to someone who has never attended?
Anderson: It’s the DeKalb County Fair, so there will be plenty of exhibits, competitions and livestock on display. It’s also a big festival of food. You can walk around and experience all kinds of fair food. If you like food, this is the place to check out. You can eat and walk as you go along. Some fairs have a food court, but at the Sandwich Fair, not all the food vendors are in one spot. They’re scattered. There’s farm equipment next to food vendors, rides next to food vendors. We have vendors, exhibitors and carnival rides mixed in.
Milton: Does the fair also have entertainment?
Anderson: We’ll also have entertainment, including tractor and motor sports, horse racing, concerts and strolling entertainment. We’ll also have a carnival with rides and games for all ages. Every year, we have a set entertainment schedule.
Milton: What is this year’s entertainment schedule?
Anderson: On Wednesday, we have an equipment show on the track after horse harness racing in the late morning. During the equipment show, there will be demonstrations and visitors can sign up and operate them. People can wander in and see the equipment in use. On Thursday, we’ll have truck pulls in the evening. Friday night, Chris Janson will have a concert on our main stage, in the infield of our track. There are two sections of tractor pulls on Saturday, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. On Sunday, there is a free auto show and two demolition derby sessions.
Milton: How would you describe the fairgrounds?
Anderson: The grounds were originally an oak forest to the left side of Sandwich, so the fair has a park-type setting. We’ve added some trees and wooded areas, so there’s lots of shade, resting areas and picnic tables.
Milton: What is your reaction to being able to hold the fair this year?
Anderson: We’re very excited to hold the fair this year. I’ve been out at other fairs to see what those look like, including the state fair and six other county fairs. People are very excited to be there. Everyone is excited to eat. Fair food is a big thing right now. The reaction has been overall very positive. People have been looking forward to attending fairs for more than a year.
Milton: What steps are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Anderson: We’ll have hand sanitizer stations, but masks are optional. The health department has not mandated outdoor mask wearing, and it’d be really hard to enforce. The DeKalb County Health Department will have a vaccine trailer near Gate 1 on the east side giving out vaccines for three days. While at the state fair, there were eight different vaccination sites.
Milton: What do you like most about the Sandwich Fair?
Anderson: I always look forward to the fair. I’ve attended the fair every year since 1979, and I was born in 1978. About five years ago, I became the fair’s general manager. I help with the day-to-day operations. I love thinking of ways to improve and make the fair better year after year. The fair is always a place to meet a few new people, have a great time with family and friends and make some memories.