We missed it last year; so we made a now biannual trip to the lofty heights of Blandford for another dose of their classic country hilltown fair; and were happy to see little had changed. It was a virtual replay of our last visit.
Not tremendously crowded, but busy.
Not flashy, but authentic.
Not a carnival, but a fair.
One thing that wasn't going on while we were here last time was a simply awesome fiddle competition. It was going on all afternoon. Young and old competed with incredible talent, and the audience reaped the rewards of their battle.
The fiddlers were ubiquitou; playing in front of the audience or spread out all around the fair grounds playing solo. Some stood in front of their cars or with their family members at the picnic tables; all practicing for their turn on stage. The result was the sounds of fiddle music everywhere.
The youngsters were especially remarkable, playing with a virtuosityseemingly way beyond their years.
At some points, many of them got on stage together for a hilltown symphony that was ...simply music to our ears.
Mesmerizing stuff for our our first listen. To think, some have enjoyed this for decades.
Country flair was all around. Potato sack and three-legged races were being held right behind us as we listened to the fiddlers.
A short walk away, and the thumping gallop of horses grows louder as we approach the riding show.
A stop at the petting zoo...
...and we wrapped it up with a 'Feats Of Strength': a classic horse pull competition among the local farmers.
We've seen a lot of these pulls with oxen, but a horse pull was a rarer sight. Either way, these pulls are definitely one of the more popular attractions at these fairs. The bleachers were full and some had apparently come from a long way off for the show.
Late afternoon, and the cool clear skies had been slowly clouding over.
A sprinkle or two and we decided we'd seen enough for the day. Time to head back.
But as we rolled away to begin our long descent back into the valley, the clouds broke and sunlight came splashing through again.
It looks like the sun will continue to shine all weekend on this little hilltop country fair.