A good old fashioned country fairPosted: 09/05/2010
As the summer comes to an end, I enjoyed a bit of Americana at the Hopkinton Fair in New Hampshire. The Midway was full of fried food of almost any kind, including a delicacy I remember from my days in Mississippi, fried pickles. The fair had cattle, sheep, llamas, pigs, and farmers galore. I listened to one farmer feeding his cattle, teling us that he fed only straw and grass, because otherwise the cow’s digestive tracks didn’t work right. The highlight of the day was saved for the evening, at the sold-out Demolition Derby.
The Derby featured three rounds, where old beaten up roadsters roared to life in the muddy field and battered each other into strange contorted shapes. The crowd leapt to cheer when cars spun its tires and picked up speed, in anticipation of a big hit. Miraculously, no cars caught on fire, and only mud was sprayed into the crowd. The Vermonster, pictured above, kept ramming cars with a wobbly rear axle. It was clear to me that these cars, with their steel bodies and strong engines, were built decades ago by craftsman. Today, they are rusting hulks bound for nothing more than entertainment, for a joyous burst of throttle on the last weekend of the summer. They reminded me of both a lost art of quality products, and our willingness to destroy and throw away objects willingly, without concern of where the materials will come from to replace them. The fair was a reminder of family, of tradition, and of values that we lost somewhere along the way. With the closing of the fair, we make our way into the fall.