A Little Bit Country

There are many things I don’t expect to find on a weekday afternoon while riding a bike trail in the countryside … and yet, it’s still possible to surprise me.

Fall fair season is gearing up, and over the next month communities big and small will be hosting their versions of a country fair.  I think it’s safe to say they’re usually held on the weekend, perhaps starting on a Friday afternoon.

But I found one unexpectedly being held on a Wednesday.  I took a wrong turn trying to find my way out of town, and there it was!

It was packed with people of all ages.  Small-town-packed, not city-packed … there’s a world of difference between the two.  I can only assume that the local schools and many local businesses were closed for the day.

It had all the requirements of a fall fair.

Judging of locally grown produce:

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Animals

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Crafts

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It’s our birthday this year, and variations of our flag are showing up everywhere!

A Play Area and Miniature Train

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There will be more to come on the play area in a later post.  It deserves its own story.

However, my favourite was inside the arena where a live band was pelting out the tunes while a small group do-si-do’d around the dance floor.

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This guy on the left was a whirlwind on the dance floor.  Wow – could he dance!!

There was even a fall harvest dinner in the church basement later in the day … but I didn’t stick around for that.  I still had over an hour’s drive to get back home.

I stuck out like a sore thumb while I roamed around the fair – in my bike shorts and sweaty helmet-hair – but I had the best time!

I may have to revise what I might expect to find in a small farming community on a weekday afternoon in September.

85 comments

    • That’s what I’m used to as well. Opening Friday evening, sometimes as early as Thursday evening and then all day on the weekends.
      I found a list of fall fairs around the province online and was surprised to discover that mid-week fairs aren’t that unusual after all.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. These fairs are such interesting cultural experiences – did they have any 4H competitions? Love to see those kids proudly walking their groomed cow or sheep around for the judges – Barrie Fair still has that small town feel.

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    • I can’t say I saw any 4H presentations, but I certainly remember them from my youth.
      I’ve never been to the Barrie fair. I just looked it up and discovered it was at the end of August. Guess I won’t be seeing it again this year :/

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  2. It’s awesome what one can find on a bike…right? This looks like a great little festival, whether in bike shorts or denim shorts. Glad you happened upon this and thanks, Joanne, for sharing your photos of people, a beautiful horse and the garden veggies.

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    • I’m thinking that maybe in the future I should toss a skirt or something in with my bike gear for just-in-case. I would have felt considerably less conspicuous if I hadn’t been walking around with those bulky-bum bike shorts.

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  3. I went to so many festivals this summer. They are always fun. Good to see you out and about. And now you are back in my reader. Yippie (and a middle-finger-salute to WordPress for throwing you out in the first place.

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    • Jan, I think you’re right about serendipity being magical. Too often we go into something with a level of expectation … like yesterday’s Ukrainian Festival … and it becomes a yawn-fest.
      The unexpected however is fun just because it wasn’t expected 🙂

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    • Ha! I know what you mean. I’ve ended up in some pretty unlikely places too. I knew this was going to be interesting because there were just so many people milling around.
      Normally that’s the kind of thing I would run and hide from, but it’s a small town … so much easier to handle a small town’s version of a crowd compared to the big city!

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  4. What a fun unexpected treat on a week day! I never thought there would be square dancing in Canada! Of course if I really think about it of course there would be all types of dancing, but I never thought about it before, so it was a delightful surprise to me this morning.

    The Alpaca was beautiful. Loved that image.

    I’m looking forward to seeing more!

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    • That silly alpaca gave me a hard time. He really made me work for that photo!!
      I admit that the dancing was so much fun to watch. I stayed and took photos for quite a while before I felt like people were starting to stare at me 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t been to a fall fair in donkeys years! They aren’t a “thing” where I grew up on Vancouver Island and I was amazed when my husband first took me to one in the Ottawa Valley where all manner of baking and cooking was being judged in addition to the assortment of farm animal-humans at work demonstrations. Such fun. We need to get out and do this more. Thanks for the nudge!

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    • I admit I hadn’t been to a fall fair in forever either. They all tend to be pretty much the same, but this one surprised me with the live music and dancing … definitely a fun twist on a Wednesday afternoon 🙂

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  6. Lovely images – especially the alpaca chappy. The dancers look a little confused at first, I can see one or two people surreptitiously checking out other people’s foot work! Is a ‘do-si-do” a bit like line dancing?

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  7. I have to admit that I’m not much of a fall festival type. As I looked at the oversized zucchini wining an award, I though ho hum, done that…remembering the year we grew so many zucchini, and everything we ate had zucchini in it. Even the neighbors started refusing them, so the zucchini sat on the ground growing bigger and bigger and stringer and stringer. How do I know…we baked it. Ugh! It took me thirty years before I could eat zucchini again.

    Then I saw the llama and wondered if he spit in your face as you tried to capture his adorable face…llama spit is not a highlight either. And I have to say, the kids on the little train looked bored to tears.

    But, by the time I got to the square dancing and the energetic elderly gentleman, I was all smiles. Do I square dance…heck no! But, in another lifetime I dated a guy who did and we’d go out dancing and I have to say square dance and line dance are pretty fun activities…I had a blast. Then later when I was teaching, after watching many videos…I taught my students to square dance as part of our fall curriculum…they seemed to like it too.

    Then I thought of the fall festivals I grew up with in California. We had two big ones…they would attract people from miles away and may have run for multiple weekends, I can’t remember. One, I never attended but you could smell from miles away, was the garlic festival. Seems we weren’t too far away from the garlic capital of the world and they were famous for garlic ice cream. Now I like garlic but the idea of eating garlic ice cream just sounds nasty! Needless to say, it didn’t have the draw for me.

    The other festival, and one of my favorites for two reasons which I describe in a minute, was the pumpkin festival. My daughter was born just before Halloween and from the first year, we started a tradition of making pumpkin stew…in the shell of the pumpkin…an award winning recipe that I found in the local paper. Halloween is all about pumpkins as well and it made celebrating a birthday, even more exciting. The second reason is that it was held in the coastal farming communities…nice, cool coastal air…a nice drive in the country along the way…and a respite from the Indian Summer. It was the first sign of real fall for us…yes, we’re late bloomers when it comes to fall…long hot summers and very little in the way of colorful foliage.

    Thanks for reminding me of the pleasures that can be experienced in the fall.

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    • One of the things I love about blogging is how one person’s story/photos can trigger so many memories in other people. It seems that is exactly what just happened with you 🙂 You have so many – and each of them sounds like a story in itself!!

      I did worry about getting spit in the face by the alpaca – but I guess he was better mannered than that. He was being a bit uncooperative with me – it seems he didn’t like having his photo taken 🙂

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  8. A small-town crowd is so much nicer than a big-city crowd. I love your photos here – they ‘move’ – you can feel the people moving in their enjoyment of the day and the festivities. Good for you, being ‘you’ and wearing your biking attire. I don’t think you stuck out like a sore thumb. More like a willowy wavy reed in the midst of the marsh. 🙂

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  9. Those little country towns can throw a shindig! We have a lot of them in my area of Florida–I love them! Hey, Joanne–I think that guy was looking for a dance partner….. **wink wink**

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  10. This post reminds me of the start of C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The back of the ordinary wardrobe opens up onto a magical setting. You had your own afternoon of magic and that is just awesome, Joanne. Thanks for sharing it.

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    • Who would have thought there would be a party happening on a Wednesday afternoon?!! Just dumb luck that I fell into it 🙂

      … on the other hand, maybe you have the right idea. It takes it certain frame of mind to stop and check it out because it might be interesting. I didn’t always think that way.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m hoping my muse is back. I had to write and publish this before my internal critic could poke holes in my post. I haven’t even looked at it yet to see what mistakes might be there that I didn’t catch.

      It makes me ridiculously happy when I find something unexpected that makes me smile. A fall fair in a small town on a Wednesday afternoon fit the bill. You are so right when you say that it’s different in a small town. The ambiance is completely different. I live in a big city, but my heart is still small town 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Aren’t such discoveries fabulous. Even more so when they are completely unexpected. Years ago when we were cycling in rural Turkey we came across a local market. In our bright coloured Lycra we looked as foreign as giraffes and hippos wandering about. Yet the people welcomed us and did their best to communicate. I will say we did have a lot of eyes on us but the memory will forever stay with me.

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    • Oh Sue – you would know better than most that wandering around in Lycra almost anywhere will get you stared at 😉

      Stumbling across these unexpected finds of ordinary life are simply the best and it makes me smile just thinking about it 🙂

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  12. Across the street from my office are tents and rides for the annual San Gennaro Festival. Not quite a county fair but you take what you can get. At the same time this weekend (who schedules these things?) is the Las Vegas Greek Food Festival held by a Greek Orthodox church not too far away.

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    • In Toronto, there is some kind of festival going on virtually every weekend throughout the summer and fall somewhere in the city. I admit I rarely (ok, never) go to any of them. There really is a world of difference between small town crowds and big city crowds. Big city crowds freak me out.
      Sooo – are you taking in any local festivals this weekend?

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