Monday, September 24, 2007

Two Faces of the Farmington Fair - part 2

The other face of the fair is the traditional county agricultural fair piece, crafts and foods and animals and so on.

I did not get as much of a chance to explore this element as I would have liked to, and I actually look forward to doing this in future years. I had mentioned to my students that we were going to go to the fair, and their advice was this: make sure you go see the animals early on in the week, because by the end of the week, they’re all gone, sold off for slaughter. Well, there you go, that’s real life, I guess.

Alden and I walked around and looked – up close – at a bunch of cows. These were cows that produce organic milk. There was some sort of a display that allowed you to see more about the milking process, but we were walking through this part on our way to the rides, and Alden was too impatient to let me really spend any time there. The main thing I noticed was how huge the cows are. Big, really, really big.

So, after we had satisfied our thrill seeking and gluttonous urges (lucky for me that at this stage, the thrill seeking is still pretty minimal), we walked out through the building that had a lot of the agricultural stuff: veggies and foods that have been grown or baked for fair competitions.

The displays were beautiful and I wished that I understood more about the whole process and culture that leads up to this. What I mean is, who is it that chooses to bring their wares to the fair, and why, and how do they “enter” – either the community of participants or the actual competitions. What do they win, or get? do they sell their stuff? See, you really could so some interesting ethnographic work here. I felt really happy, to be amidst all this bounty, presumably all grown locally, or pretty close to locally.

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