Due to some information I learned from a recent documentary, “A Million Ways to Die in the West” (not a documentary), I was nervous about yesterday’s adventure inland. In said movie, Seth McFarland poignantly points out that, “People die at the fair.” But, spoiler alert no one died at this fair. In fact, everyone had an amazing time! The Fryeberg Fair, in Fryeberg Maine, is pretty much the end all be all of fairs in New England. For three years friends have not only suggested, but absolutely raved about this fair set in the foothills of the White Mountain National Forest.
The day started off a bit hectic as I didn’t get started on my long run as early as needed and our timing was thrown off by about an hour. By the time we arrived at the fair not one of the estimated 10,ooo parking spots was available. Except…. a special spot saved just for the “Famous Cazz.” Not only is she the greatest potter I know, but she is by far the best parallel parker this side of the Mississippi (note the picture of the wedged car, 3 in clearance on both sides.) BTW that spot was exactly 10 paces away from the gate!!!
As we entered the fair we were immediately bombarded with the classic “fair smell” of decade old grease, the blinking lights of nauseously spinning “fair rides,” and people… LOTS OF PEOPLE. My senses were on overload. Honestly, I don’t even know what I was expecting.
Due to my long run that morning I was ready for food and made my initial fair task to not only locate but secure a corn dog. While this may sound easy enough given the gallons of hot grease at arms reach, at every possibility of a golden batter fried dog, I was confronted by a nasty “sold out” sign. However, I persevered and gladly purchased my $4 hand crafted corn dog. From there I promptly ate some of my wife’s taco salad, bought a Memphis style brisket sandwich, and eyeballed every french fry dealer within 30 feet of me.
No worries though, I showed a marvelous amount of restraint and was luckily side tracked by the “pullin’ ring” where massive beasts of horse muscle were doing some serious “Pullin’!!!” These amazing animals were moving over 5 tons of concrete poundage that could only be moved by tractors. Draft horses that must have been formed in some magical world of steroids pleasantly trotted out in a sort of whimsy that I felt should have been serenaded by Tchaikovsky’s delicate Swan Lake. In an instant, grace and power collided to form an equestrian version of super hero only to be quieted seconds later.
While each event could not match the aforementioned high octane excitement, we did stumble across a fast paced harness race that captivated at least 1000 viewers in the grand stands.
The rest of our fair enjoyment was mostly filled with pursuing the plethora of animals on show and taking in a sheep shearing demo. As we walked the stables, pens, and other temporary animal homes we just happened to bump into someone who knew Mo (which happens absolutely everywhere you go with Mo.) But this time instead of the usual fellow DJ, chef, or Pulitzer prize winning author, it was one of Mo’s students who happened to be showing some of her sheep. However, she was not just showing your normal run of the mill sheep. No no, her’s just happen to wear the coveted blue ribbons.
From pigs to llamas, the list of sites was just about endless. Check out some of the stuff my camera caught…