The 131st annual Sandwich Fair opened Wednesday, Sept. 5, and will continue through Sunday, Sept. 9.
An appearance by legendary WGN Radio personality Orion Samuelson on the Agriculture Land Stage at noon and truck pull competitions at the pulling truck track at 6:30 p.m. are among some of fair's highlight events for today, Sept. 6.
General admission tickets are available at the entrance gate. The cost is $9 for adults and $6 children ages 6 to 12. Five-day season tickets can be purchased in advance or at the gate. Parking and entrance for children ages 5 and younger are free.
There are also bargain ticket prices offered: entrance for those ages 55 and older is $6 until 5 p.m. Thursday, and everyone is admitted for $6 until 5 p.m. Friday and after 3 p.m. Sunday.
Big crowds are expected, and fair organizers are reminding visitors that there has been a change in the traffic access points to the fairgrounds.
In previous years, Google Maps directed fairgoers to the Fair Association office, located on Suydam Road. The influx of cars coming toward Suydam Road created traffic throughout Sandwich, leading organizers to work with Google during the offseason to create a new location in Google Maps for the fair. Now, visitors who type the Sandwich Fairgrounds into Google Maps will be directed to 15730 Pratt Road, which organizers encourage all out-of-town visitors to use, instead of Suydam Road.
General manager Bradley Anderson has said this year's fair will continue the emphasis on exhibitors that started last year. Exhibitors – especially the number of exhibitors – are “a huge part of what separates the Sandwich Fair from other fairs,” he said.
“We have higher numbers of people that show off their talents, bringing in flowers or collections and things like that. That’s one of the big things about the fair,” Anderson said.
Exhibitors at the Sandwich Fair range in category from flowers and plants to baked goods to livestock. Their importance will be reflected in this year’s booklet, which was redesigned and released earlier to help exhibitors plan in advance.
A separate promotional guide for entertainment can be found around town, featuring musical highlights like country singer Justin Moore, who is returning to perform at the fair on Friday, Sept. 7.
Anderson also added that the video screens used for headlining concerts in 2017 are back this year, to help everyone in the audience see the performers on stage.