An Interesting Mix – Now with More Technology than Ever


One of our favourite Labour Day Weekend activities is to spend a day at the Harrow Fair and this year was no exception.  I had blogged earlier about supporting those in the agricultural industry as they celebrate all that they do.  So, true to my word, we headed east to the village of Harrow to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells.

You pack money to go to these events as you’ll find food and activities there that are unique to these sorts of event.  One thing I didn’t pack was my Blackberry or a camera.  I just wanted to enjoy the event as it was originally intended.  Perhaps I was adversely affected after having read this article.

So, we got there and began our wander around.  If you’ve never been to an agricultural fair, you really need to go and appreciate all that is on display.  We really enjoy going through the exhibition areas were local people vie for honours in the best peach pie, photography, quilting, colourful apple displays, or floral arrangement categories.  Folks take these seriously.  While there are people that enter in every category, it’s amazing to see the variety of names and locations from the exhibitors.

The next stop is the display of animals.  I found an interesting sign over the Holstein display indicating that there are only 13 dairy farm owners in Essex County.  I’ve got to dig into that.  I find that fact amazing.  Then, it’s on to poultry and birds.  Chickens and pigeons, right?  Hah!  There’s a huge area of the hall devoted to the display that is stacked 3-4 layers in places.  I get the annual story of my wife’s raising of Banty hens in her days on the farm.  Aw, you never get tired of hearing that story.

We were fortunate enough to be there during the swine auction.  Here beats the heart of the agricultural community.  You have the best to offer being auctioned, farmers talking details about what you’re seeing, 4H members with canes directing the animal around the ring for all to see, and the verbal skill of the auctioneer.  While we were ring-side, we saw one go for $2.12 and donated to the local food bank.

Then, it’s off to the midway to watch kids take rides on equipment that has most assuredly been around for quite a number of years.  Kids, big and small, hop on trains and strawberry cups and ferris wheels for a two minute bit of excitement.  No Whack-A-Mole this year, but there was a Whack-A-Mouse.  Copyright infringement?

Finally, it’s off to the “deep-fried” section.  Funnel cakes, French fries, Deep fried perch, pogo sticks, and more are hits with everyone there.  I wonder if they will jog off those extra calories on the way home?

Amidst this trip to enjoy traditional values, I felt out of place without my technology.  The photography exhibit had entries that were digitally enhanced; at the swine ring pictures were being taken of exhibitor and exhibit with cell phones, people were strolling down the midway texting to others (maybe even at another part of the fair?); there were hand washing sanitizers everywhere near the livestock area; the new equipment featured the latest in high tech functionality and hybrid energy consumption; and kids were walking around with the new implementation of using their mp3 devices – one ear bud in and the other out.

Even the vendors retailing the magnetic bracelets had high technology research reports about how effective their devices are in curing an ever increasing list of maladies.

Sadly, Bossy Bingo was cancelled.  It wasn’t for health reasons; it had to do with something with the Gaming Commission.  Do cows cheat?  Are they getting on the technology bandwagon and using GPS to navigate the grid?

Finally, there’s the grandstand for the musical event.  Bleachers and seats?  Hah!  How about bales of straw and bring your own lawn chair?

Where else can you get all this enjoyment for an admission price of seven bucks?  The local fair, where else?  Visit one before it makes the next list of things killed by the internet. As for the Harrow Fair, this is its 155th year.  I’m guessing that they’ll take on the internet and continue to embrace the technology to the benefit of us all.

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