You Can’t Beat the County Fair for Fun

Every year we go to Picton Fair which has been put on since 1831.  It’s ours.  It’s family.  We look forward to the same things every year even to the one day when it is traditionally rained out.  This year it was Saturday night when radio and TV began to blare with unheard of tornado warnings. Tornado’s?  This ain’t Kansas. We’ve never heard of such a thing here before. Other parts of Ontario may get a very rare tornado (Goderich had its downtown pretty well ripped out a few years ago) but not safe old Prince Edward County. There was rain, there was wind, and even a note that a low grade tornado headed for Bloomfield.

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However, I went in the morning, all sunny and hot.  First the horse show where a young girl who had much trouble getting her fat palomino pony to canter, carried off first prize for both English and Western classes because she was the only competition.  Proud parents hanging over the fence lugged a big camera and fussed happily over English polish and Western glitter. Next was the 4H Calf Club with nine to eleven-years-olds hauling their halter trained young cattle around in a circle for the judges. Half grown steers and heifers are not necessarily cooperative. Some young members needed adult assist boosts to get their animals moving.

The hockey arena was transformed into a showcase of splendid vegetables and flower arrangements.  The massively entered baked goods competition was kept behind glass, perhaps to keep the exhibits intact and safe from hungry admirers.  Pies, muffins, breads, elaborate cakes, all with a wedge cut out for the judges to taste. Best job in the fair, I think, judging the baked goods.

On to the fancywork show where the county quilters display their astonishingly skillful and intricate quilts.  To me, superhuman focus is required to ever finish one of these quilts.  Besides the quilts, there was stitchery of all sorts of knitted hats, mitts, baby clothes, an so on.  The nursing and retirement homes had their own displays of handiwork too.  Old fingers are still skilled. The cat show, which usually also runs in this venue, had to be canceled for lack of entries.  Next year my own kitties might have to step up.

After that the food vehicles making an alluring circle in the parking lot.  Not to be outdone by the Toronto Ex, we, too, have deep fried pickles and Mars bars.  I went for my favorite sausage on a bun with fries and a root beer, powering up for a tour around the antique tractor show and an envious look at the big shiny new ones. Sadly, the demolitions derby was not on until later, so I consoled myself with a visit to the poultry building where ducks, geese, pigeons along with every kind of chicken and fancy rabbit was on display.  Around the outside, for the children, pens with baby pigs, a donkey, a pony, a llama and some sheep were within hand reach.

In the wide open doorway the best dressed dog competition was in hot contention as well as best dressed matching dog and owner. A shiny gowned young girl and her dog, which had trouble keeping on its red wig, won that one.  I think they were characters from the movie, Frozen. Which reminded me that I needed an ice cream cone then and there from the fundraising truck, manned by enthusiastic teenagers, just outside.

On to the Crystal Palace, our scaled down version of Paxton’s 1851 Crystal Palace in London.  Ours dates from 1887 and, saved from neglect and destruction, has been lovingly restored.  It’s the only one left of the many built all over North American in the 19th century. A big factor in its current usability is the replacement of the bands of windows with unbreakable clear plastic. The building stood boarded up and dark for so many years because vandals could not resist flinging stones through any exposed glass.

The Palace is full of art work and photography.  I even entered my fav snake photo in the Wildlife class and was told I would have won a ribbon had I remembered to put my exhibitor number on the tag.  Oh well.  Lots of other gorgeous photos to see as well as paintings and drawings.  Exit with a bag of local cheese curd in hand.  Passed through the county tree service display which included a cross section from a log with rings dating back to when the first United Empire Loyalists settled the county in the 1780s.

So, on home to devour the curd with relish and sit out the evening rains.  The county is so desperate for water that I’m sure people at the fair are delighted to be rained out.  And, if outdoor events had to be canceled, there is always the wrestling to keep the crowds entranced. Next day some claimed we got a whole inch of water from the sky.




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