Something will be missing at this year's Faribault County Fair.
There will not be those special hot beef sandwiches and delicious pies available.
The Trinity Lutheran Church Food Stand at the fairgrounds was crushed by a large tree which went down in the June 16 storm that hit the area. And, that means there will not be a Trinity Stand at the fair this year, it was recently announced.
"We need some time to see what we will do in the future," says Frankie Bly, the manager of the stand for Trinity Lutheran Church. "We don't really know if we will be rebuilding it or not, or even if we can afford to."
But, one thing is certain, Bly says. There will not be a Trinity Lutheran Stand at the fair at least for this year.
"People are telling me to just pitch a tent," Bly says. "But they don't realize it is not that easy. There is a lot more to it than that."
Bly should know. The retired Blue Earth Area school teacher has managed the church stand for the past 24 years.
"This was going to be my 25th year of running it, and I was going to retire and be done after this year," he says. "This was also going to be the 80th year of the stand's existence. It was built in 1934."
There are many considerations as to whether to rebuild or not, Bly explains.
"We are still not sure what the insurance settlement will be," Bly says. "Then it will be up to the Trinity Lutheran Church Women (TLCW) who run the stand and determine where the money gets spent, and the church's Board of Trustees who are in charge of the church's buildings and grounds."
There is the question of what type of building would be necessary and how much new equipment would be needed to meet current Health Department codes.
Then there is the issue of declining number of volunteers to help run the stand. Bly says it takes a virtual army to keep it open every day and night the week of the fair.
"I actually had one of my best volunteer couples, who are getting older, tell me they were now looking forward to not having to work at the stand this year," Bly says. "They said they needed a breather from it."
After the storm, volunteers salvaged what they could from the crushed building and the items were moved to a corner of the green building next door, Bly explains.
"I don't know the value of what we were able to save," Bly says. "After all, what is an 80-year-old table worth?"
He adds that many people have been asking him about the future of the stand. He tells them all the same answer he is not sure.
"I have talked with TLCW president Donna Anderson and we both agree; we just need to take some time to decide what to do," Bly says. "We need to see just what options we have."