Hi, my name is Mary Pat Lanfair. And I am from Norwich and I’ve lived in Norwich for my whole life. And I’m not going to tell you how many years that was.
My fondest memories of the Fair were, you know, when you get out of school in June, and you think, “Oh, you’ve got the whole summer ahead of you,” and July passes by too quickly. And then it’s Fair time. And the Fair is just a wonderment. There’s just so much excitement, and you know that all your friends are going to be there. And whenever you go to the Fair, you know you’re gonna see somebody, it’s sort of like a “Cheers” kind of thing where everybody knows your name, and you just know somebody there.
But some of the fondest memories I have, of course, it starts all with the fair food with the candy apples and the cotton candy and the taffy. You just walk into the Fair and you can just have all those aromas that just hit your senses all at once.
But some of the memories that I have, back in the early to mid-60s, I would say, I did an entry that was molasses cookies. Now the molasses cookies recipe was something that my grandmother had, it probably even started from her mother, I have no idea how far it goes back. But the way the recipe read was that these molasses cookies, you add in the flour until the spoon stays upright. Now it all depends on what spoon you’re using, of course, but you know, it could be kind of tricky. But I entered the molasses cookies and I won a ribbon, I can’t remember if it was, probably wasn’t a blue ribbon, because I’ve never been that good of a baker. But I remember getting some kind of a ribbon for it. So I always thought that that was pretty special.
And then another time I did a mosaic project. And again, I’m not crafty or artsy. But it was just a good feeling to be able to enter something. And I think there was only a couple of us that had entered. It was something you know, for school. And again, I got a ribbon for it, probably because, I don’t know if they felt sorry for me or whatever, but I won a ribbon there.
And one of the reasons that I would put entries in was because I knew that I could, it would give me an excuse to always go to the Fair because I’d tell my parents that, “Well I gotta go and check my entry. I’ve got to go see how it is. Gotta make sure it’s still there.” So I always had an excuse to go to the Fair.
Another fond memory I have is the entertainment. I remember one year they had Barefoot Bob Kinny was the entertainment. And I thought “Wow, we have a celebrity.” Now Barefoot Bob Kinney was on the radio, you know, not TV. But to me though, that was quite something that we would have the celebrity there and he always had this one big foot that he would put up when he was ever entertaining. So that was a big deal to me.
Another thing that I really, when I think of the Fair, I think of my dad, and my dad worked and he worked hard. But he would always make sure that he took my brother and I to the Fair, he would take us on a Saturday. Now I enjoyed going on the rides – the merry-go-round, the Ferris wheel, most things – and I had a problem with the motion. Well, my father did too, but he would always take us though on the Ferris wheel just because he was dad. And he always paid the price for that but I’m not gonna go into details.
And then with the Fair, once the Fair was over, summer was over. So even though you look forward to the Fair, you just knew though that it’s soon going to be time for school, and that was okay too because the Fair was a good way to end the summer.