Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tunbridge World's Fair

We haven't gone to a county fair or the state fair in years, but we go to the Tunbridge World's Fair virtually every year. Despite the fancifully grandiose name, it's of a size bigger than a county fair but smaller than the state fair (and much much smaller than the Chittenden County Fair). That makes it just about the right size: you can cover it in a few hours, but you don't feel short-changed.

Seeing the animals and the prize-winning vegetables and fruits is not as big a deal for me as for Siobhan: if I didn't do it I would probably miss it, but probably not that much. But it's always more fun when you're bringing along someone who hasn't been to the fair before, as we did this year. This year we watched a few minutes of the oxen pulling, too, mostly for a chance to sit down.

The craft displays are more interesting. Looking at someone else's cake doesn't do much for me, but the other crafts that are more visual are more intriguing. There's so many that you tend to gloss over them, but any single one of them has a whole story to tell, so it's a matter of deciding how many it's worth it to look more closely at. This year I was surprised to find on the children's side a whole category for "building block crafts" -- that is, Legos. I don't recall ever seeing Lego entries before. The photography is always interesting, and this year I finally decided that I am going to try to enter a few of my own photographs into next year's competition. I'm not a great photographer by any means but I have gotten lucky a few times.

There's also a lot of booths selling a variety of things, some interesting, most not so interesting, but browsing through them is part of the experience. It's more so now that the ones that sell things like shirts are actually within reach, but for all that, we didn't buy anything this year. The other people who we brought with us more than made up for it though!

And of course there's the fair food. Again, this is a bigger deal for Siobhan than for me. I usually approach it more with worry than eagerness: so often fair food has been disappointing and I end up wishing I'd spent the money on something else. And now that my stomach can't hold that much, a bad choice is even less possible to recover from. Had a moderately good gyro (at least as good as from any of the local pizza places: real rotisserie meat instead of sliced loaf, but weak tzatziki and not as good a proportion of meat to veggies) and some onion rings (just what you'd expect). Maybe next year I'll give the Italian sausage another try.

This year there was a remarkable number of people from Boston. Of course there is a Boston presence every year, and we had good weather, and there's been more in recent years than previously because people take vacations closer to home, but even considering all that, there was a lot of Bostonians. (Listened to one Boston couple introducing their young son to a cow at the petting zoo. They didn't realize that cows are female.) I wonder if there was some kind of special deal, or maybe the organizers advertised more heavily there, or something.

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