On Tuesday, the Vermilion County Fair begins its 2009 run at the fairgrounds just west of Danville on U.S. Route 150. As always, the fair’s schedule promises a week of fun, food and fanfare.

The tradition of county fairs stretches far back into American history, reminding everyone of a time when travel was much more difficult. Farmers and townsfolk would gather during the summer for contests and conversation.

Fairs still offer those elements, with one segment of the contests — those featuring efforts of young 4-H Club members from across the county — giving visitors a peek at the talents of the region’s future leaders.

Young people put in long, difficult hours during the year to complete their 4-H projects for the fair, whether their category is flower arranging or hogs. They learn organization, responsibility and team work by meeting regularly with other 4-H members. The fair gives them an opportunity to show off their work to visitors while enjoying the many treats the fair has to offer.

Older residents also can compete in a number of categories to show off their skills as well.

Local businesses join in by setting up booths in the exhibit hall.

The carnival midway always serves as an attraction to the daredevils among us, and the scents drifting from the many food vendors also brings in a crowd.

The fair also schedules a full slate of special events to entertain its audience. A queen pageant, races, tractor pulls and a demolition derby all promise to fill the grandstands during the days ahead.

All the activities and attractions combine to offer an exciting week for participants and spectators alike. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this year’s edition of the Vermilion County Fair.

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