Monday, September 10, 2007

Fair Time

It's been "fair time" here in Franklin County, Massachusetts. The Franklin County Agricultural Society has been holding the annual fair for 159 years. I have always loved going to the fair. When I was a kid, my sisters and I were in a 4-H club my mother led in Morris County, NJ. We spent entire summers making things to enter in the fair. Visiting the fair makes me nostalgic for those days.

This year, Julia and I rode on her 4-H Club's float along with the other kids and some parents, a few chickens, a lamb, a calf and a bunny. We had the best time riding down the center of town waving to people we knew and didn't know. I took photos of it but unfortunately my memory card has evaporated from my camera????

This year I entered a sunflower floral arrangement and several needlework and knitted pieces. I have never entered needlework in the fair thinking I had an unfair advantage but this year, I thought I would get into the spirit of the thing and show others what is made here in Franklin County. The sheer number of people who travel through the exhibits is astounding and I was hoping to increase the interest in the needlearts by showing my projects.

The needlework, quilts, flowers, fruits, and vegetables are all displayed in an amazing round barn type building that is 100 years old called "The Round House." Quilts line the upper story and tall sunflowers are in pots around the posts. The giant pumpkins continually amaze me.

Here's a photo of The Farmer, Julia and my mom next to the winning "tall" sunflower. Tall? What about enormous. The thing was almost up to the rafters at 12 feet 8 inches. Julia entered a flower arrangement and a little vase she made and was excited with the ribbons she got and the check for $3.75. I'm hoping she liked seeing her things on display and will think about putting some projects next year.

I'm sure that if you live in the rural United States, you too are visiting your local fair at this time of year. I love the feeling I get by looking at all the different entries and seeing the community come together to produce a great event. It's also great to spread the word about a particular hobby or activity which you would like others to try. And what a nice feeling to participate in a tradition that has been going on for so long. I can't help but to think about how important the fair used to be in this agricultural region of Massachusetts. Even in this rural area, so many people aren't in tune with farming and rural life. This fair makes it evident that there are many people still involved in hobbies that were so important 100 years ago.


Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Wow! I knew you grew giant pumpkins in Maine, but that is certainly a giant sunflower. It is always a thrill when your child's work and effort is recognized. I expect that Julia has plans for a giant sunflower in the garden for next year. Hope the same fate does not befall her as I had this year - the slugs kept mowing down the seedlings. I did get a few, but very few!

Willow said...

We always went to the fairs in Oregon, the county fairs, weekend fairs, Oregon State Fair. The state fair had an entry designation of 'professional' for fiber arts, so you were judged with other professionals (made money during the year kind). Even Los Angeles County has a fair! We went a couple of years ago. Amazingly, there were sheep, cows, goats, rabbits. And a large crafts building.

Janet said...

Thanks for all the good photos - I especially like your cushions on display at the Fair.

marit said...

Amazing!The barn is great, and look at those beautiful quilts and the embroidered pillows! It looks like great fun too.

tut-tut said...

Congrats to Julia!

Joanne said...

Are those ribbons I see on your pillows, too!? I too love the fair. I'm off to the TN State Fair this week, to revel in the fleece auction, the sheep barn, and the spinning competition. It doesn't get old for me. I think you're absolutely right, urban folks don't quite understand the meaning of the fair and the celebration of hard work well done for those in rural communities.