'Biggest little fair in Kansas' part of Lane's heritage

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The City of Lane pulls together to put on a fair like no other. The town of around 250 people have hosted the the Lane Agricultural Fair, which has been dubbed as “One of the Biggest Little Fairs in Kansas,” since 1892.

The 2021 event is set for Thursday through Saturday.

“Literally thousands of people in the Lane area that have committed a lot of time and resources,” John Fletcher, President of the Lane Agricultural Fair board, said. “For a town the size of Lane to be able to pull this off year after year, it take a lot of folks working together and making it happen.”

Fletcher said the whole town comes together for this special weekend every year.

“You have just about everybody from Lane out there,” Fletcher said. “You have people who have moved away from Lane come back for it. You have folks that have relatives from other towns that come to attend the fair.”

The fair is full of life-time memories, Fletcher said.

“We had a booth at the Paola Car Show we were amazed at the number of people that would stop by and say ‘I marched in that parade when I was a little girl or I attended that fair when we were little,’” he said. “You are talking about people who are my age and older. I am retired now. They have such fond memories of the Lane Fair.”

The fair’s theme is “Everything Old is New Again.” Fletcher said the board put together an action-packed weekend mixing old favorites with a few new twists.

The old-fashioned street dances are a staple of the fair. Fletcher said a DJ will be rocking the tunes during Thursday’s check-in for the 4-H exhibits. On Friday, Tanner Foulk, a country music artist, will entertain. Saturday night, the fair concludes with the band Route 66, which plays rock music.

“We are trying to get a variety for everybody,” Fletcher said. “The street dances are a big part of the fair. It is good family fun.”

Pottawatomie Ruritans return with a BBQ dinner along with games and bounce house for the children.

“They have been good partners with the fair board for years and years,” Fletcher said. “They are a key component of the fair. A lot of their volunteers are from the Ruhamah Baptist Church. It is a fundraiser for them.”

One of the new features is the inflatables for the children. The National Guard is bringing their rock climbing wall on Friday night, Fletcher said.

“Saturday we anticipate a huge crowd with the inflatable games,” Fletcher said. “We are doing food trucks instead of doing our own food shack. We believe that gives a lot more variety and be able to serve our fair goers with more efficiency and give them a little bit more of a variety.”