It's the time of year for fairs. Sunday we headed to Blandford, for a peek at theirs.
Blandford is situated pretty high up in the hill country, and their fairground itself sits at the top of a hill. We parked next to this church, standing nobly by itself next to the fairground. The lady directing the parking asked if we were with the fiddlers when we pulled in. Fiddlers? I don't know what that was about, but it just added to the country flavor we were soon to be immersed in.
We made our way down the midway past a few small rides, past the games and the barkers, and to the main hall standing in the distance.
Inside the main hall, The Union Agricultural Hall, there were the usual produce and product of the local countryside on exhibit. Ribbons awarded to the best.
Blandford's is a real, old style, country fair. Very little frills, and much is as it has been for decade upon decade upon decade. At fairs like this, even the hay bails get awards.
The hall itself is a well built, well worn structure dating back to 1869. Many buildings here appear to be originals, from as far back as the 19th century. They've presided over many fairs, and hosted who knows how many fair-goers.
This small building, called Wyman Hall, had an art exhibit with local painters and photographers. Like most things at these fairs, they were judged and awarded ribbons. There was some good stuff in there, but unfortunately cameras weren't allowed in there...
We walked over to the horse competitions, then gave the livestock pens a look.
Few things on this planet are cuter than ducklings. This guy and his brothers were a little intimidated by all the attention from giant primates with their clicking plastic boxes.
Does anyone remember that strange Quiznos commercial that ran a few years back, with these things in it, playing guitars?
Ducks by day, masked crusaders by night.
They're actually Muscovy Ducks, from the central and south Americas. Domesticated by native Americans before Columbus arrived, they're an odd species that climb and roost in trees, and don't care too much for water...
Ellie the llama was a crowd favorite, and Ellie loves the crowd right back. I learned that llamas are not only raised for their very fine wool (I pet the thing and it is in fact pretty downy-soft), but they also are good protectors of the sheep, goats and other smaller animals on the farm...
This guy insisted we check out his wool, for comparison.
It was time for lunch, and we went over into a very old dining hall nearby. What could possibly have made this dinner of a barbecued half-chicken, large corn cob, baked potato, bread and a slice of fresh Blueberry pie possibly taste any better...? I don't know about you, but paying eight bucks for the country feast works for me...
We walked around a little bit afterwards, and wound out our visit with a look at a small Civil War encampment set up on one end. They had been shooting off the cannon periodically the whole time we were there.
Some old shell casings loaded with shot and shrapnel; quietly hinting at the horrific brutality of that (and yes, all) war.
One of the tents had some old Civil War era state-issued bank notes on display. (Quietly hinting at the brutality of that, and yes all, inflation).
This was a fine country fair, still preserving well the way things were, as do the farms of these hill towns. We're very lucky to still have them around...While we were eating, we overheard some local people next to us talking about the coming extension of Internet and cable to the town. Big news in a small town, and big changes are headed this way....
It was time to head out. We weren't done with the day, and were headed back to my own hometown, for a fair of a different type...