This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Saturday and Sunday at the county fair

Today (Monday) will be day three at the Jasper County Fair. Here is what I have seen so far in two short visits.

On Saturday night Jimmie Bussell was on the free stage.

While he took a break, the Good Time Cloggers from Valparaiso performed in the area north of the poultry-rabbit barn. They looked like they were having a lot of fun.
 On Sunday the Community Band performed in the Retired Iron building.
 Taylor Gastineau was on the free stage (and later Rick Rascoe, but I had left by the time he performed). The black smoke above the stage is from the Truck/Tractor Pull, which made noise loud enough so that I could hear it in Rensselaer.
The smoke and noise was not from this tractor pull, which tested pedal power and took place at the same time.
On Saturday night the grandstand attraction was mud drags. I guess vehicles competed to see which could finish a run through the mud the fastest.
There are a lot of vendors selling fair food. The ones that make the circuit of county fairs, like this one, have gotten very decorative. I think the local vendors sell more food, though.
 On Sunday the rides on the midway were operating. On Saturday night the crews were still assembling them.
 On Sunday a variety of organizations took part in the Volunteer Fair, a chance for non-profits to inform the public of their mission and to find volunteers. Among the groups participating were CDC Resources, the Crisis Center, Good Samaritan Food Pantry of Rensselaer, Sorrowful Mother Food Pantry of Wheatfield, Prairie Arts Council, Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution, the Jasper County Historical Society, Demotte Historical Society, the Lions Club, Indiana State Department of Health, Friends of the Library, and the CASA program. (I know I missed two or three.) The event was sponsored by the Jasper Foundation.

Some non-profits opted for a larger presence with booths in the commercial building or elsewhere. The one I was excited to see was the PET people from Demotte. PET stands for Personal Energy Transportation. I had heard about this project before, but had not had the chance to talk to those involved. They were at the fair eager to tell people about what they do, which is to construct five vehicles per week, all done with volunteers. The cost of the materials is about $250, and that is the limiting factor in what they can produce. They were hoping to find more people willing to sponsor vehicles.

The vehicles are powered by the hand crank and are distributed to people in third-world countries who cannot walk. The vehicles give them mobility and change their lives. Because the people live in impoverished places, they cannot afford gasoline or electricity, so the key to helping them is to keep it simple. And also durable--the vehicles are made so they will be hard to break. For example, the tires are not inflated but a filled with foam so they cannot go flat. (Though I suppose with enough use they will wear out.) I was allowed to test drive a vehicle. It is easy to drive on the smooth floor of the commercial building and it turns on dime. However, my legs got in the way, something that is not a problem for many of those who get the vehicles.
If you go to the fair, stop by their booth and see what they are doing. I think they have an impressive story to tell.

Tonight the grandstand will have a rodeo and the free stage will have "Elvis" Curt Lechner. He has performed for a number of local fundraisers and will be doing another on September 27 at Embers for CDC Resources. (That is also Oktoberfest night, so you can do two events in one evening.)

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