Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fair Fun

This past weekend was the 160th Franklin County Agricultural Fair. When I was living in the suburbs outside Boston, I was so involved in my job and travel - I felt light years away from such a place and experience as an agricultural county fair. But we did come to visit the fair many years. It's the kind of place that can bring tears to your eyes if you like this kind of thing.

Fair weekend is always just after Labor Day, when the kid are back to school and the garden harvest is going top speed. The Fair begins with a parade down through the center of town on Thursday afternoon. What a fun time especially for the kids. Anyone can enter the parade - bands, community organizations, churches, antique cars and trucks. Here's our friend Stuart driving his tractor for The Guiding Star Grange. His kids are playing music on the trailer in the back.

The entire county comes out to show off their garden produce, their flowers, needlework, quilting, canning, baking, photographs, pigs, cows, sheep, poultry,,,, the list goes on and on. One of my favorite displays is the giant pumpkins. The winner this year weighed 780 pounds. (If you want to read a fun book about giant pumpkins, check out Susan Warren's Backyard Giants - The Passionate, Heartbreaking and Glorious Quest to Grow the Biggest Pumpkin Ever.

Here's my giant bouquet amongst so many beautiful flowers and quilts in The Roundhouse. The quilts hang down from the second floor making a wonderful display of handstitched decoration. Everywhere you look, there are things made, grown, and arranged by hand.

In The Roundhouse, we found a display of antique milk bottles from Franklin County. Whenever we see a display like this, we always look to see if they have any old bottles from Sunbrite Farm. That's the dairy The Farmer grew up on which was begun by his grandfather and great grandfather. Sure enough, we found two bottles from Sunbrite Farm when Mark's Dad Norman ran the dairy. How fun for Julia to see something from her grandparents at the fair even though she never knew them. It made me think about how long farming has been in Mark's family and wonder if any of the nieces or nephews or even Julia will have any interest in keeping the land going.

The Baby Barnyard is everyone's favorite. A new litter of pigs was too cute.

There's The Midway with the ferris wheel, merry-go-round, the honky-tonk rides, teenage cleavage. It's all out there to be seen and experienced.

What a fun weekend full of nostalgia - but real nostalgia that I amongst right now in the year 2008 - the 160th year of the Franklin County Fair.

Here's a run-down of lots of the winnerswhich was the front page story on our local paper, The Recorder. And then there was the grand prize winner made by Jo Williams from Shelburne. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this queen size counterpane coverlet knit on size 0 needles in cotton. What an amazing piece of work it is. It took her eight years to make it. Incredible. I was so stunned I forgot to take a photo of it to share.

Oh, I feel so fortunate to live in an area where the local paper will put a knitted afghan on its cover!


Beth said...

I wish I could see a picture of that knitted bedspread. It must be something. And what perseverance! On size 0 needles! Wow!

ellen said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful event with us. It is such a relief and so heartwarming to take a peek into the world of such hard working people, to see the bounty of carefully nurtured gardens and to know that there are still some small family farms in our country. This is just what I needed after my morning dose of worrisome news.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful fair! Here's an odd question that I can't help but ask: have those vintage milk bottles really been refilled with milk? Or just some white display liquid that can't go bad?

Lynn said...

I had exactly that same feeling when I saw the Recorder that day!

Harpa J said...

What a great fair - and a great newspaper cover.

Anonymous said...

You're blessed!

PG said...

I love country fairs, I think they must have similar atmospheres no matter what country they are in - though I have never see pumpkins as huge as that! And I know exactly what you mean about tears in your eyes.

Leslie said...

I was so pleased to see that in the Recorder when I checked it on-line. When I was introduced to Franklin County in 1978 I knew I wanted to live here and feel so fortunate I was able to make the move.

Aimee said...

Thanks for sharing your pictures of the Franklin County Fair. I was disappointed not to make it back this year, but you know how things go in the city... so much going on! Thankfully I'm spending my next two weekends on the farm :)