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!
BOOK PARTY - MAY 5-6
to celebrate the publication of my new book
CRAFTING A PATTERNED HOME.
Our colorful 1751 farmhouse will be open to the public. On view will be many of the projects that are featured in Crafting A Pattern Home along with many other things I have made over the years.
This event will be a celebration of the handmade. I hope the day will inspire you to add some pattern and color to your home.
The event is FREE. Books will be available along with some other things I have made. For more information and directions, see the EVENTBRITE PAGE HERE. Although tickets are not mandatory, it will help me get a count to know what to expect. Hope to see you here in western Massachusetts in May.