Summer wraps up with country fair
There are not many farms left in Wilton, but that doesn’t stop the Cannon Grange Agricultural Fair from being the traditional close-out to summer. Rain or shine, the 84th rendition of the annual fair will take place Sunday, Aug. 28, from 10 until 4, on the grounds of Grange Hall, 25 Cannon Road in Cannondale.
The annual event digs deep into Wilton’s farming roots while at the same time remaining relevant to inevitable changes. That’s why this year tradition marries innovation in the contests being offered.
In with the new
New this year is a contest for children based on 3-D printing. Contestants may enter something seen on a farm. Among those very supportive of this idea is the Ridgefield Library, said Bil Mikulewicz, one of the the fair organizers.
“The Ridgefield Library thought it was just wonderful,” he said. Like many area libraries, the Ridgefield Library has acquired 3-D printers and teaches classes for adults and children on how to use them. A course for fourth through eighth graders on how to make a suitable entry for the fair proved so popular there was a waiting list. In addition, a representative from the library will demonstrate how a 3-D printer works at the fair.
Wilton Library also has 3-D printers in its Innovation Station and Children’s Library. The printer in the Innovation Station is available to those 13 and older who have taken a class on how to use it. For information, visit wiltonlibrary.org and click on the Innovation Station icon, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or speak with Susan Lauricella in the teen department.
For children 12 and under, call the children’s department at 203-762-6336 for information.
Mikulewicz, who keeps chickens, said of 3-D printing, “there are lots of things I can see needing in terms of watering them, feeding them, that aren’t being sold in stores. … [3-D printing] has a lot of uses around non-commercial home gardens and livestock.”
Judging the 3-D category will be Judy Juracek, a Fairfield County author, theatrical designer and film scenic artist. She is a friend of Mikulewicz’s, the two of them having worked at CBS in Manhattan. “She did a lot of work computerizing CBS, plus she’s a designer and artist. I knew she’d be the perfect person,” he said.
The grange is also drawing on a recent trend with a contest in adult coloring. A template may be found on the grange website, cannongrange.org.
Other adult and junior crafts categories include jewelry, pressed flowers, woodworking, bead craft, items from recycled materials, and more.
In with the old
Just because the grange is picking up and running with new trends and technologies does not mean there isn’t room for more traditional aspects of a country fair.
Grange Hall will be filled with exhibits ranging from baked goods, fruits, vegetables, eggs, needlework, handicrafts, photography, homemade spirits, and flowers. Outdoors will be poultry, fowl and rabbits.
There will be live musical entertainment throughout the day along with games for children, topical demonstrations, and vendors selected to appeal to adults and teens.
The day will come to a close with the traditional messy but delicious watermelon-eating contest at 3:30, followed by an auction of baked goods, vegetables, fruit, and flowers from the exhibits at 4:15.
There are many food-oriented contests in the fair from brownies and chocolate chip cookies to two-crusted and single-crusted pies, coffee cake, cupcakes, quick breads, muffins, jellies and jams, relish, pickles, honey, and bread. There is even a category for a gluten-free recipe.
This year’s fermented food category is sour kraut. The Cannon Grange Perpetual Trophy will be awarded to the best apple strudel by anyone of any age.
There are also three Association of Connecticut Fair contests.
The adult contest is rather challenging this year as entrants must make a six-layer chocolate cake with toasted marshmallow filling and malted chocolate frosting. This contest is open to adults and juniors.
The junior baking contest requires the submission of lemon-glazed blueberry hand pies with a cream cheese crust. Entrants must be between the ages of 7 and 15 as of July 1.
There is also the annual two-crusted apple pie contest.
All entries will be judged on appearance, flavor, texture, aroma, and following directions.
Baking contest winners will receive a blue ribbon and be eligible to submit their entry at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Connecticut Fairs, which will be held on a Saturday in the fall.
Returning this year will be the decorated plywood lambs. Prizes will be given for most original, realistic, whimsical, and fairgoer’s choice.
Lambs must be reserved by emailing email@example.com. They may be paid for and picked up at Grange Hall on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 11 to 2. Decorated lambs must be returned on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 1 to 4. Unpainted lambs for children are $15; unpainted lambs for adults are $20.
All the rules, regulations and descriptions of categories to enter as well as recipes, are detailed in the fair’s bright green program booklet, available from area merchants, at town hall and Wilton Library. It is also available online at cannongrange.org.
All entry forms must be mailed in time for the last pickup at the Wilton post office at noon on Aug. 27.
Parking is available at the Cannondale Railroad Station. Admission is $2 per person, or $1 with a canned good donation for the Wilton Interfaith Food Pantry.