© 2015 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee
Idyllic Fall Fairs are Upon Us
The haze of blue smoke lazily curls into the air wafting the smell of barbecued sausage all the way to the parking lot, a trimmed, elderly hay field. We know instantly that hot dogs and fries beckon from across the way. The Hymers Fall fairs is upon us. Friendly smiles from waving parking attendants, Park here. Children run. The once-a-year exhilaration of September fall fairs smells good.
Hot dogs, burgers, baked potatoes, food of every description is offered at every turn from small tents and shack-like venues set up almost in lines. Pleasant, orderly customers eagerly hand over cash for ice cream, onion rings and other delicious creations, fresh organic garden produce, There are always beautiful people pushing baby-buggies, with kids the next size up racing about fall fairs, laughing and pointing and rediscovering the familiar, but always exciting.
Discoveries to be Made
Old, once-retired engines from the previous century puff away like small, sleepy cast-iron dinosaurs burping and blinking in the sunlight. Noisy buggers, aren’t they, but highly efficient, those antique hit and miss motors. Demonstrably pumping water, functioning, some almost hopping about on the ground, strutting their original stuff in bright coats of red, orange, and green paint. See, people, we’re still relevant, we might be old, but we still work. Back-breakers, those ancient, clunky chain saws. A tractor from yesteryear with 4”long pointed cleats on all four steel wheels. True 4×4. My grandfather had one exactly the same model. I have a picture somewhere. The smell of forge coal burning, a blacksmith demonstrates how red-hot steel can be easily shaped. Sparks fly, and the anvil rings.
Stifling hot and humid, clouds coming and going, threatening rain, where’s your umbrella? Hot isn’t it? You didn’t bring an umbrella? Hope it doesn’t rain. Your oats ripe yet? How’d the garden do? Pretty dry this year. Old geezers smile and nod, farmers all —the once-a-year jawing session.
The threat of rain makes no difference to small boys grinning and pushing the entertaining 2-kid tippy car-spring ride to their limits, monkey bars climbers, or bold, shaky would-be 3-ring circus stilt-walkers stumbling precariously about in the children’s playground. Bang a spike, pay two bucks, fastest time wins. Hit the nail on the head. Pups of all descriptions and sizes on leashes pant away in the shade, dreaming of a visit to the free dog-watering station. Smiling politicians shake hands with passers-by, handing out buttons, pamphlets, squinting into the sun and sweating with election fever hotter than this unusually hot September day.
Weather makes no difference to elegant, dressage-coiffed teen riders in meticulous English riding habits. Black-hatted equine competitors concentrate on their braided, silky steeds and steer the horses around course obstacles , challenging pole barriers set increasingly higher, fences standing between them and first prize of $250.00. Wow. We pause to watch. There is nothing as graceful as a well-trained jumper. The green, wet turf grass is soft from an overnight drenching in the white-plank fenced arena, but hearts and hoofs are pounding, eliminations are announced and the bars are raised; poles fall, you’re out. The winners smile, proudly riding around the perimeter in victory.
The smell of elephant ears with cinnamon and coffee next door lures folks down from the bleachers. Ogo-Pogos, you know the kind, a blanketed hot-dog-on-a-stick. With mustard. Want fries with that, sir? Corn-on-the-cob with butter, salt and pepper. Deep-fried everything with ketchup, salt and vinegar. Soda pop. Coffee.
Fair-goers of all ages and entertainment at its finest. Skills proudly displayed. Artisans, ceramics, paintings, demonstrations. Want to learn how to weave, spin wool, or carve? Pause and watch. There’s much that can be learned.
Clapping. Music on the main stage, singers rattling off tunes performed by the greats. Agricultural and crafts, knitting, sewing, painting, kid-art displays, competitive carrots, beets, garlic, pumpkins, potatoes, five on a plate, baking, apple pies, cookies, jams, jellies, apples and preserves. First prize, ribbons red. Prize stock. So many varieties of clucking chickens, preening pigeons, quacking ducks, gobbling turkeys, then it’s hogs, bunnies, goats, sheep and cattle. We see them as winners all.
The Hymers Agricultural Fall Fair was founded in 1912 and runs through the Labour Day weekend every year. This one was the 103rd year of fun and merriment. The same people come back every year. New visitors promise to return. Every year. It’s a tradition.
Apparently fall fairs can’t be bad —regardless of the weather. See you again next year…
Is that Incoming I hear?