Monday, October 03, 2005

The Big E!

Topsfield's closer to home, but we'd not been to the Eastern States Exposition in some time. It's a longer ride, but reminds me more of the fairs I used to go to as a kid.

The crowded midway was a vertiginous mix of sight, sound, smell:

Funny thing: I am afraid of heights to the point of panic, but I always want to ride the ferris wheel. We didn't this time around; saved it to the end, but ended up too tired to bother.

The Grange Building is situated on the Avenue of the States, right across from the states' pavilions. Housed in it were all sorts of hand crafts and a little shop where you could by homemade jams, jellies, relishes. This is the 4H pavilion, I believe.

Each New England state has its own pavilion dedicated to items of cultural, industrial, commercial, agricultural/natural interest. Of course, about all the states are known for similar things: maple products, upscale universities, proximity to the shore (save for Vermont), so there is a bit of overlap. If one looks out, they'll find some neat, quirky little things in each pavilion. Items of interest this time around were the amazing cider doughnuts in the Massachusetts pavilion, the wonderful pine-essence products in the Rhode Island pavilion, the Vermont dairy farmers' cooperative (Cabot Farms if you're looking for it in the supermarket) cheese market.

Hal was fascinated by the beekeeping exhibitions, of course. He ended up buying some honeycomb in the MA pavilion, fond memory that chewing that stuff is to him. I picked up a few months' worth of pine soap from the Rhode Island building and a funky kids' wristwatch from the Connecticut building (CT being the home of Timex).

Out on the midway again, we saw a few sideshows. For some reason, these little attractions make me sad. I hate to think of the animals being cooped up in these trailers, though I'm sure that they're comfortable enough.

That day, the featured act was Taylor Dayne. I don't think Hal knew who she was, but her one hit "I'll Always Love You" will forever be etched in my brain. I must have sold thousands of copies of the sheet music for that song during college when I was a music shop girl, as for whatever reasons, it's a big wedding hit. Though I'd not actually heard the song before, I know it by osmosis, so could sing along with Dayne when she performed it. That and some other song (Tell it to my heart?) Were her two big hits, so she managed to keep each going for like 15-20 minutes.

Though she's not terrible by any stretch, I was glad to get away from her. Too loud, not my style. I actually prefer calliope music when I go to a fair:

These circus organs, like music boxes and player pianos, never cease to amaze me. All those moving parts; all the man hours that went into the creation of such instruments leave me in awe. Interesting bit of trivia: the first circus organ manufacturer in the United States was in a suburb of Buffalo, NY (North Tonawanda). The manufacturer of the Big E's organ, Stinson Company of Ohio, is the only left in the US that produces circus organs.


It was the perfect day for a day at the fair: sunny and not too hot. We had a wonderful time wearing ourselves out and refraining from eating too much bad food. (Had our annual corn dog.) We made it home at a decent hour tired as anything, but happy as little kids. Sacked out early and enjoyed something like 12 hours of dreamless sleep.

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