MARSHALL - Blue ribbons will meet the "wild blue yonder" this week at the Lyon County Fair. In addition to a schedule full of events and attractions, this year's fair will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first airplane landing in Lyon County.
The celebrations are a collaboration between the fair, the Lyon County Historical Society and area residents, said fair board president Scott Myhre.
The idea to commemorate the first Lyon County flight, "Came about when we started looking at the old newspaper collections we had last winter," said Historical Society member Neal Ingebrigtson. Trudy Madetzke was going through some of the old papers, and found an account of the 1912 Lyon County Fair in the Lyon County News-Messenger.
Photo by Karin Elton
Shawn Tykwinski, left, and Luke Sanders hauled picnic tables to the free stage area Monday afternoon at the Lyon County fairgrounds in preparation of the Lyon County Fair which starts Wednesday. The free stage will be the venue for a variety of acts this week, such as 4H-Arts-In, Carolyn Bayerkohler and Sherwin Linton.
The papers advertised a first for the fair - flying exhibitions. Aviator W.L. Bonney was to make three fly-overs of the fair in a French monoplane. However, the show was not without some setbacks.
The News-Messenger reported that the weather on the day of the first exhibition was too poor to fly. The next day, Sept. 26, 1912, Bonney made a 20-minute flight reaching an altitude of 1,000 feet. The next day's show ended with the county's first airplane crash. A combination of engine trouble and one of the airplane's wings clipping a telephone wire brought it down, on top of five parked automobiles. Bonney suffered two fractured ribs, and the plane was badly damaged.
"Trudy called in December to ask about doing something for aviation," Myhre said. The historical aspect of the flight commemoration makes a good addition to the fair, he said.
Select members of the Marshall High School Marching Band will be taking the place of the Marshall Middle School Band that was originally scheduled to open the fair Wednesday. Due to many of the students being on vacation, the marching band, under the direction of Wayne Ivers, will substitute, performing at 12:30 p.m. They will march from the fair gate to the free stage to perform "Ramsey Park March" by George Bittrich, director of the 1912 Scenic City Band of Redwood Falls. Bittrich played in John Philip Sousa's military band. See complete aviation-related schedule on 10A. The general fair schedule for Wednesday and Thursday can be found on 8A-9A of today's paper. Friday's and Saturday's schedule will be published Thursday.
Several events throughout the fair will commemorate the historic flight. The fair will open on Wednesday with a musical program and sing-along to songs from 1912. Area residents will share their own memories of aviation in programs on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Local pilots will fly airplanes over the fair on Saturday morning, and fairgoers will get a chance to enter a paper airplane competition at the Lyon County ice facility.
"Trudy has gotten a number of people involved, and she's done a lot of interviews," Ingebrigtson said.
There will be plenty of new and returning attractions at the fair, too. The Barnes PRCA Rodeo and a demolition derby will be returning to the grandstand, Myhre said, and a free draft horse show will be held on Wednesday evening.
"This is the first time we have held a draft show," Myhre said. "The event is one that we got Legacy grant money for."
Other new additions to the fair this year include a petting zoo and daily puppet shows by the Mitchell Marionettes.
Music lovers will also have a variety of musical styles to listen to, ranging from an appearance by DJ Chopper to the Larry Olsen Polka Band. Country music artist Sherwin Linton will be appearing on the Free Stage on Friday and Saturday.
"A lot of people are excited about that," Myhre said.