World events getting you down? Feeling overwhelmed? A small-town agricultural fair in Maine can replenish what the news has depleted.
It’s a place where girls in tutus and cowboy boots feel right at home.
It’s where well-loved animals ask strangers for nose scratches.
(Note that if that massive ox wanted to walk away from there – dragging the entire fence with him, he could!)
It’s where a man walks his team around the fairgrounds,
just so they can give people kisses.
If you go into the farm museum, you’ll see that oxen have long helped people of this community do their work.
Speaking of work, it’s where you can watch horses and their people show off their skills at what they do to earn a living. Many people still use horses for logging.
It’s where there’s an entire building to display what children are learning.
Along with the crafts and art,
there are posters that show off projects. I was thrilled to see this one about helmets.
Out by the barns, there are groups of teenagers from the local high school, sitting quietly. They were intently observing and sketching the animals at the fair. I didn’t see a single phone in hand. They all looked content. Why doesn’t every art class get their kids out to places like this? What about not just art classes?
It’s not all about education. It’s about fun, too.
Some people think that spending a summer doting on a giant pumpkin is the best pastime. To each their own.
Of course there’s a midway. But it’s not too scary.
The carousel is elaborate.
These aren’t the only horses that go around in circles. Maine has a long tradition of standardbred racing at fairs, with homegrown and trained horses doing the trotting.
An agricultural fair is a noisy place.
But at a small fair like this, there are pockets of calm. You can contemplate the jarred food.
In a shadowy barn, you can catch fragments of conversation among old friends,
and be in awe of their horses. These are the weightlifters of the equine world.
The Maine fair season is almost over. I’m grateful to have had a day at one.
Do you have a small agricultural fair in your community? Or something similar? Tell me about it in the comments!