I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
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A lifetime fan of the Sandwich Fair
By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................September 4, 2012
Sandwich Fair historian Joan Hardekopf was ready with a name
when I asked for a longtime fair supporter I could interview.
Joan is busy arranging displays in the new fair museum, which
is in its second year.
The person she suggested is Juanita Anderson, who has been a
part of the fair since she was 4 years old. That was the year
her aunt asked her to help butter bread in the kitchen at the
Federated Churchs food concession. Now 93, Juanita has
been volunteering in various capacities at the fair for 89 years,
except when she was 10 and was too ill to attend, Juanita said.
As a child, she lived down Center Street, just three blocks from
the fairgrounds and remembers
Juanita Anderson shown in her home on Center Street in
watching the big dray horses pulling farm equipment from the
Sandwich Manufacturing Company past her house to the fair each
During high school and later she went to Saturday night dances
in the fairgrounds dance hall during the days of ballroom dancing
and big bands.
Juanita was married in 1937 and a few years later bought a house
kitty-corner from her childhood home where she still
lives. Incidentally that house originally was on her grandfather
George Barks farm five miles north of town, but had been
moved to Center Street with steam engines dragging it there on
Bark had been an original stockholder in the fair, and she laments
the fact that later her father had to sell the familys
one share to a local banker during the Great Depression and she
has never been able to buy it back. But she knows which descendant
of that banker holds the stock and has hopes of still recovering
Her favorite job over the years was working with small antiques
in one of the exhibition halls. She said the head judge, a Somonauk
antique dealer named Shaw, let her help with the judging, which
she thoroughly enjoyed.
In recent years, shes taken on a new tasks, such as helping
out at the Fox Valley Older Adult Services, where she made pork
sandwiches that were being sold during the fair, and most recently
at the Older Adults craft shop just east of the fairs big
windmill, where she said they have some fine handmade dish towels
and dishrags for sale.
I should mention Juanita also volunteers two days a week year-round
at the senior center in Sandwich preparing meals.
I plan to be there Wednesday and Thursday to see Max Armstrong
and Orion Samuelson emcee the noon show on the Ag Land stage.
A new attraction, live duck races, also sounds intriguing.
My wife Kay and I always enjoy the handiwork and baked goods
in the Home Arts Building as well as the hobbies and collectables
hall and, last but not least, the Horticulture area where John
Wagner presides. Ive seen a lot of fairs in this country
and would rate the Sandwich Fair as the best
The columnist can be reached via email at :
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PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115