The Ag Fair

Cornwall is a town in the northwest corner of Connecticut. I served the Episcopal congregation there for a dozen years and consider it a second home. It’s a remarkable place: a community of 1,434 persons as of 2000, 20 more than ten years earlier, and not counting an estimated 530 “weekenders,” up from an estimated 360 ten years earlier.
To serve this community there are two general stores, three post offices ( did you wonder why postage costs so much?), and four congregations. At one time there were three Congregational churches because they couldn’t get along with each other. Now there is one because they can’t get along without each other.
The local newspaper is a monthly edited by a rotating team of editors and paid for by donation.
There are 239 registered Republicans in Cornwall, 369 Democrats, and 411 unaffiliated voters. Cornwallians are an independent-minded bunch.
In August the Democrats had a primary in Connecticut that drew national attention. Ned Lamont beat out Senator Joseph Lieberman statewide by 3.5%. In Cornwall, Lamont beat Lieberman by 243 to 24. 73% of the eligible voters turned out for a primary in mid-August.
There is a covered bridge over the Housatonic River in Cornwall, but it’s in West Cornwall, not at Cornwall Bridge.
Why do I tell you all this? Because I’m just home from the annual “Cornwall Ag Fair.” It doesn’t match the Kansas State Fair but for us locals it’s a whole lot more fun. The main event is the cow chip raffle (“the truly organic game”) but there are hay bales for the kids to climb on and tables full of home grown potatoes and squash and tomatoes and homemade jams and jellies and maple syrup to be judged. Children’s entries are judged separately. The Lutherans sell baked goods and the Episcopalians offer jams, jellies, and relishes. There’s no cotton candy or Ferris wheel but they offer rides on a hay wagon and there was a pot bellied pig wandering around.
Sorry you missed it? You should be! So make a note for next year. It’s the second Saturday in September most years, sometimes the third Saturday. Call before coming.
And get directions. It’s not on the main road.

(Check the schedule of Beowulf events in a previous post)


Gamer_DudeSeptember 9th, 2006 at 5:44 pm

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Rick WheelerSeptember 12th, 2006 at 8:13 am

Dear Chris,

What a marvelous and poignant reflection on what for centuries was at the core of our early communities. As an eleventh generation Concord and Cape Cod farmer I can speak to the wonder and excitement that surrounded our annual celebrations. They were, as you point out, marvelous intergenenerational events that brought us all together.

Looking ahead at your impressive list of author events, I am sorry that we will miss the one in Bronxville. We will be on the Danube at that time. I know that the community will be rising up in the warmest of welcomes for you and Peg.

With warmest best wishes,

Rick and Betty Ann

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