Friday, 5 September 2014

Time for Fall Fairs

You know you are in the country and it is autumn when all the fall fairs start.  It seems almost every little community host their own two or three day fair and most have been doing so for many decades.  Each year, it is more common to see lots of the downtown Ottawa city folks making the trek to the country side to take in the somewhat unique fair events.
Last Saturday we did just that...drove a distance to spend a few hours taking in the sights, sounds and smells of a real country fair. They all have barns with lots of domesticated animals and this one was no different...the cow and sheep barns were very popular with the children; adults seemed to favour the horse barn and the miniature horses, in particular, were a real hit.  We missed the sheep shearing contest and the milking contest.  I was interested in seeing the alpacas and donkeys. Both are popular on farms to help keep coyotes away from the livestock. 
There were also several buildings full of different kinds of chicken; I had no idea there were so many different types.  We took our time walking past all the cages and noting the beautiful feathers, colours, sizes of tail plumage, etc.  Baby grandson did not like the way the roosters would screech out their cock a doodles any old time just as you walked near them so we wound up hurrying through their section.
We had to examine all the tractors on display, some antique among the shiny new ones all lined up in one of the fields. We watched people trying their luck at all the games though we did not give them a go. Interesting how most of these seemed to be the same as when I was a kid, or perhaps variations of the same ones.  Your prize if you won was still a stuffed toy or doll. 
 Daughter and I were keen on visiting the vegetable and goods pavilion.  There we got to see the ten pound zucchinis and giant carrots, beautiful sunflowers with stalks the size of my arm, and an endless array of bottled vegetables, jams and jellies.  There was lots of breads, baked loaves, cakes and cookies.
The hand work section was disappointing with only a few entries in each division. Of the quilts only a few had been actually quilted. One lone cross stitched picture represented the whole embroidery category.  Someone told me that people are reluctant to enter their work because of the lack of security at these fairs. I guess there is a story that quilts go missing sometimes and with the hundreds of people walking through and no one keeping an eye out, it is easy enough to have that happen, unfortunately. 
I was happy to see the children had been invited to take part in the fair by submitting their hand made items on the theme of 'My World'.  This had produced a wide variety of responses...everything from simple crayon drawings to elaborate dioramas and posters.  It is cute to see children still incorporate painted macaroni and construction paper into their efforts. 
I did not go on the ferris wheel; I didn't want to test if I still have my fear of heights even though this one was not one of the super high ones you see.  I did go on the ride that flings you around in a circle; a little sentimental  moment because it was always my favourite ride at the fair when I was a kid.  I loved the ride but felt dizzy afterwards; I don't remember ever feeling dizzy like that when I was young. 
I guess we all have fond memories of fairs we enjoyed as children.  One of my grandsons has gone to his town fair each year since he was born, just as his dad has.  It's now a family tradition and that fair is now marking its 170th anniversary making it one of the longest continuously running fall fairs in Ontario.  What a fun piece of history!