Thursday, July 23, 2009

Field Trip: Traditional County Fair

We've been doing Vacation Bible School all week at our parish -- and the kids are loving it; it's 8:45-12:30 every day and I'm exhausted when I get home as I'm helping in the preK-K room (with kids from 3-6 years old!). By the time we get home, eat lunch, and I work with String Bean on her spelling/reading, I'm ready for an early dinner and an early bedtime.

But today was different ...

We got home from VBS, ate quickly, and jumped into the van and headed down to Montpelier and the Orange County Fair. This year's theme is "We've got a good thing growing" and they definitely do. We spent almost five hours there and it was DEFINITELY worth the trip down.

This is one of those authentic, old-fashioned fairs with lots of agriculture ... including tractors and other farm equipment in every size and shape and color (orange Kubotas for Uncle Noah and blue New Hollands for dad)...
animals of every shape and size ...

from a one week old Jersey ... to a long-horn steer that was not much older ...
rabbits (for sale, of course!) but no, we didn't add any to our menagerie (yet!)...
alpacas from Peru that had just been shorn. These guys gave their lovely hair for spinning into even more gorgeous yarn (but at $20/skein, I didn't succumb to the yarn's siren song!).
... and many types of String Bean's favorite, goats! There was even a breed we'd never seen before: LaMancha goats that don't have outer ears but give wonderful milk. Odd looking but beautiful in their own way.

We spent lots of time talking to a wonderful, elderly man explain about bees and beekeeping and honey. It was fascinating ... nothing quite like talking to someone passionate about a hobby-turned-sideline. This guy was so patient with our goofy questions and didn't mind BamBam going off and coming back and interrupting and generally soaking up only so much for a six-year-old.

We had such a great time going through the judged exhibits ... with the kids (and me) thinking about all the events we can enter next year including: lego building, painting and sketching, photography, crafts, gardening and (of course) knitting and other fiber crafts. We can't wait!

After a traditional fair dinner of corn-dogs, Carolina barbeque pork, and apple slices with caramel, we attended some of the events including:
Hogway Speedway -- pet pigs trained to race with names like Hammy Hamlin and Piggy Gordon (#24, of course). It was great.
A fabulous magician show ended our evening, with String Bean assisting for one of the tricks ... this guy (and his real assistant) did some pretty amazing tricks that amazed all ages.

I didn't get a picture of it, but the kids joined in the bubble-blowing contest, but only got "participant ribbons" but lots of great memories. This was such a wonderful fair ... complete with all but those nasty midway rides/games that are overpriced and run by those raunchy roustabouts!

One thing's for sure: we've got a good thing growing ... here in Orange County!

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