"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Bethlehem Fair, birthplace of holy memories

We just did our annual trip to the county fair, one of my very favorite, ever end-of-summer rituals. Little things can make wonderful traditions.
 We live in a size-able city that is a bedroom community of The Big Apple...that means that living around these parts is quite urban and rather devoid of fairs. In urban New England, people in our neck of the woods have mostly grown up attending carnivals which are like fairs, minus the agricultural bits. I love agricultural bits.

 I love the part about how you park in a tromped down hay field and walk forever to get to the gate. I love the quilts and the baking contests and the view from the top of the ferris wheel that is all trees and rolling hills and the occasional church steeple.

I love that you have to wear your old boots because the midway is just a dirt path that gets messy from so many feet tromping through it all week. I love that nobody thinks twice when our four year old has grass stains on both knees and our toddler is hanging off the fences by the livestock pens.

The fair was one of my childhood rituals. I grew up entering things I made, dreaming of owning a horse of my own after visiting velvet noses in the horse barn and spending my savings on the Tilt-a-Whirl and The Scrambler. I feel so right at the fair, lots of great memories there. Wonderful, precious to me, part-of-who-I-am, things-that-make-the-world-feel-right-memories. Its simple stuff and silly stuff, (the ridiculous carny patter on the midway still makes me laugh out loud and The Scrambler makes me giddy) but its so happy and so gritty and inspiring to me.

 I always come home and want to go to visit the area farms more and grow bigger carrots and teach the boys to knit and work more carefully on my pie edging. I love that fairs make me think of things that I can do myself and want to do them. I love that they make me proud of capability and relaxed warmth and my own state. I love how much the fair has become a celebration for my sons. Its super fun to share the things you love with the next generation.

And I have to say, my husband, who isn't an agricultural devotee has been very gracious about learning to appreciate this ritual that I love so deeply. Affectionate shout out to him for making me feel understood and helping the kids value things he knows matter so much to me.


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