…by Anura Guruge
>> Sandwich Fair, NH, 2012: This Columbus Day Weekend; Weather A Factor — Oct. 5, 2012.
We got there about 9:40 am. The main, free car park on Bean Road/Squam Lake Road leading to Gate C was full. But, it wasn’t a problem. The auxiliary free car park, 200 yards down the road, was empty. That takes you via the quaint little “Murphy’s Bridge” to Gate E — and then straight to the Tractor Pull area. So we started by looking at some amazing antique cars, some old engines and 20 minutes of tractor pulls. That was good. Good way to start the show. Also a guy on stilts and Deanna and the kids love men on stilts. Growing up in Ceylon we would have men in stilts come by the house and do a performance for a few cents. I think it is a bygone era. Performers going door-to-door. We use to get snake charmers, fortune tellers and match makers, à la ‘Fiddler On The Roof’, too.
When we got to the Midway it was 11:20 and they were pushing the $15 ‘all-you-can-ride’ till 2pm bracelets. So I just ended up getting two for the kids and 6 additional tickets so that Deanna and I could go on the Ferris Wheel as we like to do as a family. So we did that. They were having a LOT of problems with the electric for the big rides. I had never thought about it. You can’t run the really big rides off an extension chord. They have huge power generating trucks around the Midway churning out the juice. But, they were having problems. ‘Air Force 1‘, the premier ride, was down for the count. Didn’t impact us greatly as Devanee won’t do it anymore after scaring herself to death on it a few years ago — when we took her and three other friends to the Fair for her birthday, on the birthday, October 10. They had a new ride, an UFO; a fast spinning UFOs with no openings or windows. Devanee, after a nervous first ride, did it twice more. Tesichan rode the carousel three or four times. They did the bumper cars. So I think we got our $30. Other than ‘Air Force 1’, as far as I could see, all the other rides, including the Ferris Wheel, were ‘3 tickets’ each. I think they have come down in tickets — possibly after seeing a drop in attendance when they jacked up prices.
We saw Roderick Russell, the mind reader and sword swallower at the stage. He was good. He said he was famous. I checked him out. He is. He was great. He was fun and yes, I got to get up on stage with him though he wouldn’t let me try swallowing his sword. I saw ‘Mo the Clown‘. I also saw and spoke briefly with Alex Ray of the ‘Common Man’ (who I have known since 1998). He was at his ‘distracted best‘. Enough said.
The weather forecast I posted here was right. It was overcast from the beginning. We got two large showers, the first at 3:40 and the other around 5. Wasn’t a big deal for us. We ducked into the ‘Smith & Hodge Exhibit Halls‘ during the first downpour and the ‘Craft Building‘ for the second. Surprisingly neither was packed with people seeking shelter! For a start, it wasn’t that crowded to begin with, especially for a Saturday. I think many knew the forecast and decided to stay away. After the first shower the place was nearly empty. That was a shame. Felt bad for the vendors. By 5 a few of them were looking rather desperate. Then the sun did come out, but rain clouds threatened, all around. It was warm mid-day but after the rain it got noticeably cool. We all put on jackets.
The art show, as ever, was amazing. Love the quality of the photographs entered for the competition. Wow.
Definitely recommend that you try and get there Sunday or Monday. Good atmosphere. Great bonhomie. Everybody is friendly and is trying to have a good time.
Food prices were the same as last year. So that was two big contrasts with the 2012 Loon Highland Games; you didn’t feel that you were being mercilessly exploited at every turn and they had new things. Bravo.
Yes, we plan to go next year. [P.S., Sandwich, in a huge about-turn from years past, appears to have become a Democratic enclave. Not sure how that happened.]