Grafton UMC new operators of food pavilion at Champaign County Fair

Grafton United Methodist Church in St. Paris is taking over the food pavilion at the Champaign County Fair from North Lewisburg United Methodist Church, which had operated the venue since 1963. LUCAS GONZALEZ/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Grafton United Methodist Church in St. Paris is taking over the food pavilion at the Champaign County Fair from North Lewisburg United Methodist Church, which had operated the venue since 1963. LUCAS GONZALEZ/STAFF

A food pavilion at the Champaign County Fair has been purchased and will now be operated by Grafton United Methodist Church from St. Paris.

The pavilion had been owned by North Lewisburg United Methodist Church since 1963, according to church member Rick Bails, 67.

“The idea was to give families that come to the fair a healthy alternative,” he said. “We just saw it as an opportunity to provide a good, wholesome meal for the fairgoers,” said Bails.

»LATEST: Clark County deputy who shot news photographer back on road patrol

The pavilion offers a wide variety of home-cooked foods and fresh fruits, said Dave Jenkins, 67, chairman of the Care Committee at Grafton UMC.

The menus have been left mostly the same, with the addition of mac and cheese and a new sandwich, Jenkins said.

Proceeds will be used for Grafton UMC’s mission work of helping needy families, and purchasing school supplies for children, Jenkins said.

“We wanted all the money to go back to the community or to help people,” Jenkins said.

LOCAL: Child, 1, left in shopping cart at Springfield Meijer, father charged

For more than three years, Grafton UMC shared shifts with North Lewisburg at the pavilion, according to Jenkins.

The decision to officially pass the responsibility to Grafton UMC was made due to North Lewisburg’s aging congregation, Bails said.

“It was getting kind of tough for us to be here at the fair all week,” he said. “We had a lot of fun doing it, but it was just time to give it up,” Bales said.

The pavilion and other facilities at the fairgrounds returned to normal operation Tuesday following a power outage at 8:15 p.m. Monday

All facilities on the fairgrounds were affected, said Meredith Bodey, Champaign County Fair Board Secretary.

Following the power outage, the fairgrounds was closed early and evacuated, Bodey said.

Power was restored to all facilities after 10 p.m., according to Bodey.

PHOTOS: 2018 Champaign County Fair - Monday

The outage occurred all across the south end of Urbana, Bodey said.

“We hope the weather holds today and that we don’t have it again,” Bodey said.

The Champaign County Fair continues through Friday.

About the Author