Many festival-goers said the event, although smaller than previous years, was still enjoyable.
"It's a great family day," Sarah Kingston said. "It's all about food, music and having a good time."
Nearby, 8-year-old Maia Daughterty proudly announced that she had eaten two whole ears of corn on the cob.
"It's funnel-cake madness," one vendor shouted from his booth as he lifted a crispy funnel cake onto a paper plate sprinkled with powered sugar.
Visitors perched on the steps of the Culture Center, juggling barbeque sandwiches and lemonade as they chatted with neighbors and listened to the music emanating from musicians on the lawn.
As the afternoon progressed, more people flocked to set up lawn chairs on the grass. Old men and teenagers congregated in small circles to listen to bluegrass.
Indoors, musicians strummed their banjos during the banjo contest, playing to an audience that sat under quilts from the quilting competition the previous evening. Later that afternoon, fiddlers competed in the fiddle contest.
"The showcase of local musicians is incredibly important," Leigh Anne Strickland said. She added that Vandalia offers West Virginians an opportunity to celebrate their culture and history.
Debbie Vass, who recently moved back to West Virginia with her husband Keith, echoed the same thought.
"We don't see the good in this state enough. We only see the bad," Vass said, as she bit into her barbeque sandwich. "We're a land of cynical people."
She said festivals like Vandalia encourage people to engage with their community and their historical roots.
Steve McComas, a fiddler from West Hamlin, agreed about Vandalia's importance in remembering the state's history.
"We don't forget where we come from," McComas said. "My grandfather carried this fiddle in England during World War II."
For many musicians, Vandalia has fostered a lifelong community.
Although her husband only gets to see many of the people at Vandalia once a year, Cathy Hill said the Vandalia musicians have become his "bluegrass family."
Similarly, McComas said that, to him, Vandalia has come to resemble a homecoming as he and his band reunite over their common love of music.
"Some people are born to ride motorcycles or drive racecars," Cecil said. "We were born to play music."
Reach Laura Reston at laura.res...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5112.