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A Fair to Remember

A bit of old-fashioned fun is a good reminder to keep things simple.

One by one, the acrobat balanced white chairs on top of each other then climbed up and added another. All in all, more than a half-dozen chairs topped with a middle-aged man balanced on a small table while children held their breath and stared.

“Ta-Da” the clown on the ground waved his hands in a show of triumph and everyone clapped.

It wasn’t ; just an old-fashioned circus clown performance at the Haddam Neck Fair on Labor Day. 

It was, by all comparisons to modern entertainment, pretty lame. There were no pyrotechnics, no video screens. But as I walked about the fair celebrating its 100th year, I realized I appreciated the simplicity of it all.

Beginning with the drive south on scenic Route 151, I nearly felt as if I was in a time machine. The  hilly landscape with twists and turns led past a bevy of tag sales and through small patches of historic homes until it dumped into a hay-strewn field for parking. The entrance had no turnstiles, just a few volunteers collecting our $7. Kids were free!

Enveloped by the sights and smells, I smiled. What’s better than a good, old-fashioned fair where you can shoot BBs at a game booth target after you grab a slice of apple pie. The more things change, the more they stay the same, they say. And country fairs are just like that.

Although certainly not "old fashioned," the spinning cups and gravity-defying rides reminded me of the same ones I rode in my "olden days." Oh, the memories of sixth grade when I tossed my cookies into the nearest garbage can (and ruined my really cool puffy, neon sweatshirt) after too many rides with my friend Pam. That incident solidified my hatred of all things that whip you around with the pure intent of making you scream and throw up. 

The pig races were new to me, however. I guess this suburban girl hadn’t been to a real country fair until now, as it seemed I was as giddy about it as were the toddlers in strollers nearby. I nearly squealed with glee as four little pastel-pink pigs got into their starting gates then raced each other to get back into the trailer topped with a sign reading Rosie’s Racing Pigs! 

Another first in my book: the large show ring pitting oxen against machines. Although I didn’t get to see the actual competition, I watched as the steers were yoked and readied to show their might by moving concrete blocks.

I’m guessing that somehow the animals proved to be powerhouses.

Which leads me to the conclusion that sometimes it is the simple stuff that makes a Monday memorable. Stuff like petting baby goats, sipping fresh-squeezed lemonade, riding the carousel and, of course, a little bit of clowning around.

Christine September 07, 2011 at 11:46 AM
Wendy what a fabulous article! I loved this. . It's was very funny--your keen sence of humor is threaded throughout this piece. I love the neon puffy sweater---think I may have had one to accompany my teased and shellacked hair. You seem to have a knack for finding the unknown pleasantries of CT :) Thanks fir this fun morning read

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