Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fryeburg Fair

In New England, fall is fair season. As a kid, I remember my mom used to call us out of school just so that we could go down to New Hampshire and go to the fair with my grandparents. I have vivid childhood memories of the rides, carnival food, exhibition halls, and the animals. This is a tradition that Tom and I intend to continue with our future children.

For the last two years, we have been visiting the Fryeburg Fair, which is one of the biggest fairs in the state of Maine. I actually think it is the biggest, but I'm not 100% on that. Regardless, it's a fair, it's fall, and it's awesome.

Tom and I tried a different fair strategy this year. Rather than getting up early to get to the fair right when the gates open, we opted to go in the evening. We left our apartment around 2ish and got to the fair around 3. For any Maine locals, this is the way to do it. We saw very little traffic going in, and if Tom didn't make a wrong turn at the fair grounds, we would not have gotten stuck in traffic at all. We picked a sunny day to go, which was definitely a good thing because it rained the rest of the week. In fact, we overheard several people talking about how the fair was "mobbed" that morning because it had rained the two previous days. Another reason to go later in the day. There were crowds, but not so bad that we felt over crowded or unable to see everything.

Our primary purpose behind going to the fair is to indulge in carnival food. We have our usual things that we always get, like fried dough and veggie tempura. This year, Tom convinced me to share a turkey leg with me. I am very happy we shared one, there was enough protein on that thing to keep me full for the rest of the day.

This year, the fair introduced a specialty foods exposition hall. Tom and I were intrigued, so we went in and enjoyed samples of various locally made goodies; hot sauce, honey, jams, jellies, popcorn, and barbeque sauce. We discovered blueberry pepper jelly and absolutely fell in love. It starts out sweet with a spicy chili finish. We loved it on the crackers the vendor provided, but then the vendor told us about how he likes to cook with it as well as a marinade. Needless to say, a jar of that came home with us. We also have their website and will be ordering more.

After eating and checking out some agricultural exhibits and the crafters hall, we wandered over to see the animals. My grandparents have a dairy farm, so I grew up around cows. I love seeing all the animals, like the pigs with their pile of piglets, the sheep that feel like walking sweaters, the bunnies with their motor noses, and the poultry exhibit, where it takes all of my self-control not to crow like a rooster to make all the chickens twitch... okay, I'm weird.... but it's funny. Take my word on this one and try it some time.

We also stopped to watch a bit of a horse pull. In my many years of fair going, I have never really gone to any of the agricultural events, except for the occasional pig scramble. It was really impressive to see horses pulling over 7000 lbs of weight. Tom helped me put it into perspective by saying the horses were pulling 2-3 of our cars. I was impressed.

The one the we did not check out was the mid-way. Tom and I have outgrown it, and last year the carnival games were not that great. I honestly did not even miss it. When I was a kid, I used to try to rush through everything to get maximum time on the rides. I'm sure that thrill will return once we have a little one or two to take on the rides.

All in all, it was a perfect fall day.

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