The fair and the Primary

The Zipper is a popular ride at the Orleans County Fair. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

by Bethany M. Dunbar, August 29, 2010

It was a zooey week in the news business.  Never before have the Orleans County Fair and the Primary Election had to be covered in the same week’s paper.

I felt a little like a hamster in one of those little running wheels.  Monday I processed almost 60 photos, handled the e-mail, phone calls and letters to the editor as usual on a Monday.  Tuesday I stayed at the office until 2:15 a.m.  About an hour of that was sitting around after we were done working, just talking it over and unwinding.

But after two days of such intensity it was not likely I would fall asleep the instant my head hit the pillow anyway.

We collect results for our charts from all of Orleans County’s town clerks and a few in Caledonia, Essex and other counties.  It’s not the whole state, but it’s more than a lot of papers do on Election night.  It’s exciting to be in the office and be among the first to know who won the local races.  When we call the candidates for comments, sometimes the reporter is the one giving that person the totals and the news of the night.

What do you think of the Primary results, or — in the case of the Democratic gubernatorial race — lack thereof?  I’d love to hear your comments on either the election or the fair.

The fair was fantastic this year.  My favorite statistic is one told to me by Stanwood “Doc” Churchill as he watched the harness racing on the new track surface.  The new surface — and increased purses thanks to Fran and Melanie Azur — drew 69 race horses.  Last year there were 47 harness racing horses (These numbers are not counting the show horses, and pulling horses and ponies).

Another plus this year was the pasteurizer for milk.  The fact that farmers were getting better premiums (cash prizes) and would get paid for the milk meant more milking dairy cows were on hand as well.

Eliza Doncaster of Irasburg leads her prize Jersey cow, Courage, back to the barn after showing her. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

I’m not really into extremely large extremely loud modified tractors.  They looked about as much like tractors as a rocket ship looks like a ox cart.  But clearly the crowd was loving this new competition.  The grandstand was full during these events and that’s got to be good for the bottom line.

We went to see the band RedHouse Saturday night in the beer tent, and that was a lot of fun.  Look for my review in this next week’s paper.

Bit by bit the fair committee is making improvements every year.  The bathrooms were extremely clean this year.  Kids got to pay one price and ride all the rides.  Things seemed to be going smoothly in general.

We had a taste of maple cotton candy from the maple shack and what a treat.  It can’t really be good for you, but it can’t be as bad for you as that pink stuff.

The fair is a turning point in the season.  Summer is about over as evidenced by the bounty of vegetables on display there.  We are getting a few cool evenings, and the kids are getting ready to go back to school.  There are a few orange maple leaves here and there.

Well folks it’s way too nice out to stay in front of the computer today.  Hope you all had a good week and have good things to look forward to in September.

Check out the Chronicle’s web site for lots more demolition derby photos and other shots that didn’t fit into the newspaper.  We will have more results and photos in the paper and on the web site this coming week as well.

A prize-winning cabbage at the Orleans County Fair. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

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One response to “The fair and the Primary

  1. That picture of the zipper is excellent, the photography matches the writing at this site.

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