For one week each year in August, families, vendors, and carnival folk make their temporary home at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Preparation for this week begins well ahead of the annual Washington County Fair. Weeks ahead of time families and farms prepare their livestock for showing, vendors determine what items will be offered at their booths, and carnival rides are transported to their places. In a matter of days the grounds become a bustling city of sorts where ferris wheels and tilt-a-whirls are erected, stalls are filled with cows of every kind, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, ox, and horses and tractors and trucks are towed in for the nightly entertainment.
On August 19th at 4pm, the Opening Ceremonies commenced marking the fourth year that L.E.A.P. had participated in the Fair. This display of Washington County agricultural prowess illustrates the heart, soul, and culture of the area. By the end of the week, over 100,000 people would have visited the fair, but when we arrived on the first full day the grounds were peaceful. Families were preparing their animals for show. We watched as children who were dwarfed by the cows and calves they led walked proudly with their animals willingly in tow.
Each night people packed into the arena to see who would prevail in events such as the pro-rodeo, tractor and truck pulls, and demolition derbies. Teenagers strolled between the vendor booths and carnival games, careful not to look too uncool as they were just as swept up in the magic of fair week as children much younger. Parents watched daily shows, visited “Aggie” the Incredible Milking Cow and gave in to protests for cotton candy and ice cream.
If you drive by the fairgrounds this week, they are quiet with no evidence of the thousands of people who were once there. L.E.A.P. is proud to have attended this wonderful event and to be a part of the fabric that makes the culture of Washington County so unique. Our staff manned the booth each day and met people from across the county, state, and neighboring Vermont. We thank all those who participated this year. From our staff to the Washington County Fairgrounds staff, thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet so many amazing people from the community we serve.