Pulling Together was the theme of this year’s Annual Heath Fair organized by the Heath Agricultural Society and supported one way or another by just about every one of the town’s 800 residents so that thousands of area people can enjoy a day in the country and gain a sense of the abundance around us – even in these hard times.
It would not be pushing a metaphor too hard to say that it takes a lot of people pulling together to raise our young people so that they turn out like our very adult granddaughter Tricia – a real prize winner. Now that I think about it, Tricia attended her first Heath Fair at the age of 1 month, when the official T-shirt had a big blue ribbon and said First Prize Winner. We always have thought so. BTW, that intricate lap robe she’s holding – it’s mine now.
The Heath Fair is wonderful for kids, and a reminder to us all, that there is a lot of fun to be had beyond the computer screen. I believe this young woman was the winner of the Watermelon Eating Contest. Somehow I missed the Blueberry Pie Eating Contest.
There are also Children’s Games which include competitive events like relay races to see which team can fill a bucket of water the fastest and such like, but it is amazing how long a big pile of sand, a car tire obstacle course and 2x4s set up as balance beams can entrance the young set.
Of course there are pretty girls like our friend Emma and her pals, with the Shenandoah Hoopla hoops that lured just about everyone at the Fair for a try.
And more pretty girls! Everyone comes home to Heath from their far flung lives. Emily (in the middle) was our neighbor for many years. This weekend she joined with her step-sisters Christina and Andrea to celebrate brother Greg’s announcement that he and Rebecca have set a wedding date.
Heath Fair weekend is a magic time. This year there was real magic whereever Ed the Wizard walked. Instead of a stage show, he wandered and performed his wonders where he found people willing to watch and concentrate. There was LOTS of concentration! I was just glad there was no blood when he insisted on pulling strings through his neck and fingers.
There is a lot to learn at the Fair. The Heath Agricultural Society tent let children learn how to make butter. There was heirloom tomato testing, wood carving, and spinning. A group of spinners used the occasion of the fair to spin and talk. talk and spin beautiful wools into beautiful yarn.
The Fair gives children many opportunities to show their skills – as the Snow Leopard demonstration team shows here in their Wu Shu drill. In the Exhibit Hall there are prizes for their crafts, arts, and gardening skills.
Adults need to learn too. Dave Freeman and Doug Mason talked about the formation of, and their participation in the new Hilltown Biodiesel Fuel Project. Five local farmers have received a grant to buy the equipment to press and process oil from sunflowers and canola to make biodiesel oil to power their farm equipment. Locally about 100 acres of sunflowers are waiting to be harvested. They are pulling together – and they say there is room for a few others to join the Project.
Last year there was only one ‘lecturer’ in the newly reinstituted Speakers Tent but this year, there were three of us. Ted Watt gave a great talk about Backyard Berries; I’m definitley planting black raspberries next year. He seduced us with a jar of black raspberry jam. Then there were Freeman and Mason and then . . .
there was me! I have a talk about Vermiculture, which is the high class word for Worm Farming. It was well attended, as were the other talks and I found that the auditors have a great deal to add to our general knowledge. Here we are out in the sun where we can get a good look at the worms. There was a lot of sniffing – but worm farms do not smell bad. One passerby noticed us and proudly said he had been successfully worm farming in Heath for the past couple of years and had such prolifically reproducing red wigglers that he had to throw some in the garden occasionally – even though he knew they would die over the winter. Then his face took on a grim cast as he told us that just a couple of days earlier he had taken his worm bin out of the house where it usually lived, and put it outside . . . where it was ravaged by a racoon who ate all the thousands of his worms. He was bereft.
There is so much to do: admiring the exhibits in the hall and in the livestock barns, twirling with the Hooplas, dancing to the great music, shopping for jewelry and maple cream fried dough, and shopping for a lot of books and CDs at the Friends of the Library Book Tent, buying raffle tickets to support myriad civic projects and organizations, that finally you just have to sit down and gossip – I mean share the latest – with friends. Here I am with Cheryl and Mary Ellen and we are discussing the date next month for the ground-breaking for the Buckland Public Library addition. We all put a lot of heart and energy into that project – talk about Pulling Together.
The Fair is over. My Monday Report is a day late, but the days after the Fair are always beautiful, no matter what rain or even snow(!) may fall during the Fair. Summer isn’t quite over yet.