Sunday, August 23, 2015

a fair day

Yesterday I visited the annual Hardwick Community Fair:
"The Oldest Fair in the United States"
est. 1762

For readers in some other parts of the world -
for readers in most other parts of the world! -
253 years is hardly ancient history.
But for the US, it's fairly old.
(See what I did there? Heh.)

And even in that long/short 253-year history,
the fair has not been held continuously.
Since 1762 - when, by the way, the residents of Massachusetts
still answered to the King of England - 
the Hardwick Fair has vanished several times.

Some interludes began with a major event.

The Revolutionary war...the Civil War...

but afterward, the gap sometimes stretched on for decades.

The fact that townspeople have stepped up
and reactivated the Fair,
over and over again,
is special, I think.

Physically, it's a small fair, held on the Town Common.
There are organized activities for children,
booths for local vendors, and traditional skills demonstrations.
Across the road, there's a long tent for dairy cattle.

I'm so happy there are still dairy cattle to be shown here.
In the past 30 years or so, this region has lost dairies
the same way it has lost small lumbermills:
in big, sad numbers.

People from many nearby towns enter the competitions.
Crosscut sawing. Sack races. Cakes and pies. Fun things.

Lots of beautiful produce: fruits, vegetables, eggs, herbs.

Food and flower displays in the Town Hall.

Sewing, knitting and other handcrafts in the church hall.

 And by some miracle, after a series of rainy days
that left the ground feeling like a squelchy sponge,
the sun shone yesterday
but the air was not terribly humid!
It was hot, but still refreshing.

Back to normal today, though - air like wet gauze.

And poor little Fern had a bellyache today.
I sat on a chaise in the barn and kept an eye on her
while picking out photographs for this post.
Very happy to report that I just came in from evening chores,
and though she is still a bit quiet,
Fern is definitely feeling better.
Thank goodness.
Now the new week can get off to a good start.
I hope it will be a great week for all of us :)

Just a reminder: 
I'll draw the winner of the crockpot cookbook giveaway
tomorrow at noon ET.
Still time to enter!
Good luck  :)


  1. Is that a delicata squash, I wonder? And lovely beeves there, too.

  2. It all looks delightful, I would have loved to be there.

    1. Kath, I was thinking of you when I took the quilt pictures! I'm glad you stopped by :)

  3. Good news about Fern and thoroughly enjoyable post about the fair. At the grocery yesterday, I "found" crock pot liners...who knew?! Yes, it's wasteful but I'm all for something that's going to ease my way.

    1. Sounds like there's finally a reasonable way to use the old crockpots that don't come out of the base for cleaning!

  4. One of the best parts of summer fall are the local fairs. Nice photos. Glad Fern is doing better. Have a great week!

    1. Thanks, and yes, Fern is back to herself tonight. What a relief!

  5. I just love the fairs and all the beautiful home made and home grown things to see. Glad that Fern is better. Love coming here.

    1. Thanks very much! Yes, I'm lucky there's a small fair so close to me...I don't think I have the energy for the big County or even Tri-County Fairs here in MA, though I've enjoyed them in the past. And Rhinebeck (Duchess County NY County Fair) for the fiber... but that's in a class by itself! :)

  6. I've enjoyed reading back through your posts Quinn! I love fairs too, and have found so many small local fairs here dwindling away to nothing in the past 20 years. Rather sad. I'm glad your fair is going strong (compared to our entire country's age, anything over 200 years is old to us Canadians!). I hope Fern is back to her happy self again soon. Enjoy your week :)

    1. Thanks, Wendy - I was thinking of you today when Piper and I went for a walk by the pond. It's been a long time since I've gone canoeing or kayaking...hmmm....

  7. I love fairs; it's a great way to see what wonders your community are crafting, growing, raising.

  8. I loved scrolling down through the photos until I came to an abrupt stop when I saw those sweet little cow-ish noses beneath the fence. They are just plain heart-melting!!

  9. Quinn, a Blue Ribbon for your photographs!

    1. Thanks :) There was a big display of photography at the Fair, and there was some impressive wildlife photography. But my favorite of all the pictures in all the classes was a slightly blurry little snapshot of a hen walking away from the camera at an angle. It was taken by a youngster, and it just made me laugh with delight. As it did the next two people who saw it. I hope that one won a blue ribbon!


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