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At The Heath Fair. August 25, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, music, Politics and Society.
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Charlemont’s neighbor to the North is Heath, Massachusetts, and in the down-home vein of our Yankee Doodle Days, Heath has its annual fair every August.

This is a traditional New England country fair, with a focus on our agrarian lives and times. As a teenager I dismissed this stuff as “hokey,” but as an older person I view it much differently – it’s like a love letter to a friend who is threatening to disappear from our lives, and we know we’ll all be diminished if that happens.

So I’ve gotten it into my mind that I’ll do my best to find the hearts of these matters and share them with you.

Welcome to the Heath Fair:

There are animals of every description, many being judged for their exemplary breed characteristics, some just on hand to elicit smiles:

If these guys had a dollar for every time they heard “Aflac” this weekend, they could charter a jet to fly them around!

The grounds abounded with the fruits of these folks’ labors, including buildings full of arts and crafts and ribbon-winning vegetables:

And there was a full schedule of events, from the Church Ladies’ Ham and Bean Supper:

…to the Antique Tractor Parade – step aside, folks, they’re coming right down the middle of the fair!

And the music was a constant presence, all of it appropriate for the venue. Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem lit up Friday evening with a long and excellent set of alt-country tunes:

Their drummer took it up country with a kit comprised of a suitcase bass drum, cardboard box snare and Dap calking tubes, among other things, which he beat the pants off of to stupendous effect:

They were tremendous fun!

Outside the tent (and a safe ways away,) the fireworks crew were setting up with one eye on the sky:

The sky looked ominous as they hurried to wire the ‘works together and get it covered up before the predicted weather hit.

Still, impending floods be damned, the Tractor Pull went on as scheduled, with kids assuming their rightful place, which is “central” in these parts:

This little girl was dead serious about helping her Daddy win.

‘Round about the time local hero Ray Schwanger roll-started his old Farmall and made short work of pulling a heavy load, the skies opened up for real:

The announcer called a time out as we all scurried for cover. I hit a Sausage Grinder shack to snag my favorite guilty-pleasure fair food, expecting to eat it in the car while the downpour passed.

As I trotted back toward the parking lot, hunkering over my camera and grinder, I happened past the Heath Free Library’s tent, where I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of a young boy escaping the rain by disappearing into an entirely different world. I snagged this quick shot of the moment:

…which turned out to be my favorite photo from the whole weekend.

Thanks, kid. I owe ya.

Before long the rain let up, the tractor pull resumed, and the fireworks went off right on schedule:

I’m pleased with that shot as well, having struggled with the technicalities of shooting fireworks for a couple of years now and finally being happy with a set of techniques which deliver acceptable results.

Saturday was equally fun, though I was otherwise occupied in the morning and missed a few things. I got to Heath in time to catch Last Night’s Fun, a local Irish/Celtic band playing up a storm and laying down a soundtrack for a group of lovely young step dancers:

A walk around the grounds again found me surrounded by animals – baby ducks:

…rabbits, including this double-chinchilla:

…cows:

…bulls:

(…yes, a head shot. You’re welcome.)

I got to see the Adult Goat Show… and no, the Heath version is nothing at all like the one you may have heard rumors of down in the Gritty City:

And, of course, there were horses, the draft kind:

…the lovey-dovey showy kind:

…and the kiddie-kind:

Lots of horses. Enough said.

And speaking of children (I was, wasn’t I?) they were everywhere – crushing in the tug’o’war:

…devouring the competition in the blueberries-and-cream-eating contest:

I think Nathaniel subscribes to the “eat today, chew tomorrow” school of hooverism…

Kids  swarmed the truck-sized sand pile, with this young lady directing the relocation of the pile’s edges to its top:

A sack race bopped by:

…while tiny wobblers watched:

It was all very warming, and a pleasant break from the tribulations of a world on fire and politicians on crack.

Plenty of other stuff happened up at the fair, like the talk by an animal rehabilitator and her assistant:

…but I’m sure I’ve already tested your patience, so I’ll just apologize to those whose efforts I’ve left out. With a full boat of Fall events in the works, I’ll probably catch you later!  🙂

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Comments»

1. Fran - August 25, 2012

Thanks for a lovely time at the fair. The fireworks were great!

littlebangtheory - August 25, 2012

Thanks Fran. Yeah, I got lucky/dialed in the ‘works. Now to see if the results are consistent with my beta or conditions-dependent!

2. susancrow - August 29, 2012

It’s only been a little over a week since I visited last but once again you’ve provided what feels like a whole summer’s worth of wonderful photographs. It’s very hard to choose a favorite but technically you have come a long way with the fireworks. One of the best things about your posts is your ability to describe the place and scene as you work. It’s like being someplace with a funny and knowledgeable friend.

3. TheCunningRunt - August 29, 2012

Yes, the fireworks came out better this time – I approached it entirely differently from Yankee Doodle Days, with a different camera angle and time frame. Your tour guide Ralph aims to please! 🙂


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