For the past four days, my right arm has been weighted down by a monster camera. And despite the fact that I could really use a well deserved shoulder massage, I don't complain, because I love what I do. The world seemed to stop spinning on it's axis because the Durham Fair came to town. Each year, it's not like we all sit around and wait for the fair to come to us. We (as in you, me, your neighbors and such), are the fair. Without, the efforts by everyone who lent a hand to the extravaganza, it could never exist. This weekend proved to be a experiment of how a town can band together for common cause, but not without its challenges. While many experimental factors came into play, such as weather, parking, and finance woes, we somehow persevered and fared well enough. The fair isn't short on drama either. We get an overdose of it during this late September weekend. For 4 days, kids run on no sleep, a recipe for disaster usually resulting in high school break-ups, pre-teen irrationality and youthful meltdowns. Department heads must juggle the many clucking hens in their house and the fair council gets their yearly barrage of shoulda, woulda, coulda. But for me, there is always a bright side. On the flip-side, it is the best weekend Durham has to offer, bar none. It's is a wonderful time when we get to revel with many friends all in the name of fried food. Nothing warms your heart more than a walk down(not up) the hills of the fairgrounds seeing the people you know and love. So much happens that it's hard to get it all down in the blog. So please allow me share some highlights in the photo essay below. Thanks to everyone that took part in the grand occasion. Like every Durham Fair, it leaves us with a sense of nostalgia than only gets better with time.
Talent is huge part of the fun at the Durham fair. I know that each year, I am more excited about the talent show than any of the headliner acts. I revel in photographing the performers as they make it all happen. I love watching parents, with clenched hands and tears of adoration in their eyes. It is the most heart warming aspect of this fair by far.
Speaking of entertainment, the committee for this did an amazing job. I actually felt entertained. So much, that I couldn't see it all. The lighting on the big stage was out of this world for a country fair. I learned that maybe I am a little bit country after all. Kelly Pickler lit up the stage with her cancer cause hair-cut allowing this lucky photographer to get some great shots of her.. Thanks Kelly. I am sure Kenny Rogers was great, but based on a long rainy Friday, I knew when to fold em.
I was fortunate to catch some of the pie judging. I conveniently stopped by when I was starving. Good thing, because there must have been over 60 pies to judge and why let a good pie go to waste?
Speaking of pie,the pie eating contest is arguably the cutest (and grossest) yearly tradition at the fair! I personally call for the committee to bring back the Lyman pies, they're messier and that much better to photograph. My two cents...bring the kids activities to the town green. It is one of the best parts of this fair and seems under noted. Nothing boast a new England fair like pie eating contest on a quaint town green!
Hey, I found Waldo in the pouring rain, did you?
So what's your feedback on the rides? I was out $60 on ride day and I am pretty sure, no parent will ever again buy into the half-baked idea of pre-purchasing ride passes. But my kids got some rides in despite the feeling that there were fewer to go on...With the fantastic coaster "Boulderdash", only 10 miles away, I'm sorry to say the "super"coaster missed the boat.
Thank you for supporting John Lyman School (see girl eating corn) and all the other non-profits. Everyone knows that that managing this fair must require a delicate balancing act supporting profit and non-profit groups. I personally know that my husband must have consumed 20,000 calories, and $100 dollars, pin-balling from one non-profit to another in under an hour. I have tons of great photos of smiley faced volunteers putting their best effort forward for their respective groups. While the giant donut is a for-profit requirement by my standards, let's hope that everyone pitched into the important non-profit causes.
Fingers are crossed that we made some money for the organizations of this town! This photo was taken on Saturday night and I can only imagine that the Exchange club booth in this neighborhood was churning out french fries faster than they could fry them up.
We were safe thanks to these guys who truly care. No one usually thinks about what can go wrong because their too busy eating fried dough. But if someone gets stuck on a ride, slips in the knee deep mud or eats too many gyros, their the first one to take care of it. Thanks.
I was fortunate enough to have the awesome experience of working on an intergenerational project for the fair. Here are some of the kids that worked on it and I couldn't be more proud of the connections we made. I and my fellow young classmates had a fascinating peek into the lives of our many local seniors. Priceless!
Speaking of seniors, I got to know Janet this weekend. Being somewhat new to the photo department I had a blast hanging with this ragtag crew. We may be the techie nerds of the fair, but we had a dry roof over our heads and while visiting, people had lots of beautiful photos to look at. What strikes me about Janet was that she is youthful beyond her years and she inspired me to always stay young no matter what life throws at you.
Thank goodness there are still people out there who take on monumental farming challenges (like growing giant pumpkins). While I wore my best plaid shirt, these guys are the real deal. As Monday comes and we head back into surburbia, let's not forget the efforts that were taken by our local farm folk that shared their animals, tractors, vegetables and expertise so we can relearn how to simplify and better our life.
Finally, lets not forget the ones we love that truly inspire the Durham Fair each year. Our community would not be the same without you (yes, have a look in the mirror). The more you care, the better this event will be and it's future will be insured. Through my lens, I saw more people connecting than ever and I feel truly fortunate.