Lillian Bias, 5, watches as her father tries to win her a colorful can Friday during the opening day of the Champaign County Fair in Urbana. This year marks 127th year that the Dearwester Canes game has been at the fair. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

127-year old ring toss returns to Champaign County Fair

A 127-year tradition continues at the Champaign County Fair.

Karl Dearwester and his cane rack toss booth, Dearwester’s Cane Rack, have been traveling to the county fairs across Ohio since 1892.

“Everyone who sees it, it’s like taking a trip back in time,” Dearwester said. “We want everyone to experience that. We want everyone to win.”

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Fair-goers have a chance to win their own hand-made cane by tossing a small wooden ring onto a variety of cane tops. All the tosser has to do is land the ring onto a cane top, no hidden tricks, Dearwester said.

“Whether you are 4-years-old or 94-years-old, you can play this game,” Dearwester said.

Dearwester’s grandfather started the booth, and the game, and passed it down through the family. Dearwester’s been working at fairs across the state since 1958, when he was just a young boy picking up discharged rings.

“I was just born into this,” Dearwester said. “I like to keep it as close to what it looked like original as possible.”

Dearwester said he’s been asked to bring the rack to the Clark County Fair, and hopes to someday have the opportunity.

“It seems to always overlap with the Butler County Fair, and I’ve been going to that for 60 years,” Dearwester said. “So that kinda beats it.”

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Dearwester’s Cane Rack is located beside the other game booths in front of the grandstands.

The Champaign County Fair, located at 384 Park Ave. in Urbana, will run until Friday, August 9. Doors open each day around 7 a.m. and close out at 11 p.m.

The price of daily admission is $8 per person, which includes rides. Children under the age of 2-years-old will get in free, but an $8 ticket must be purchased if they will be participating in rides.

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