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The Cumberland County Fair.

I love the Fair, and I feel like Cumberland County gets somewhat unfairly maligned locally when compared to the earthier Common Ground and more grand-scale Fryeburg Fairs (both of which I also enjoy).

I’ve never been into fairs for the midway or the rides that take up a big portion of the fairground real estate (though I do enjoy a good cheese fry and bit of fried dough), instead for me,  it’s all about the animals and the opportunity to see folks showing off their passions, be it raising rabbits, ox-pulling, quilting, or pie-making and Cumberland excels at this as much as any other fair I’ve been too. It’s also the closest, which certainly doesn’t hurt when you’ve got a 1 1/2-year old in tow and may need to make a quick exit when the tired grumpies strike.

But LMC was enamored with the whole fair affair, and held up for an impressive 3+ hours. And there was a lot to take in in those 3 hours: we saw animals, listened to a favorite local bluegrass band (Tricky Britches), watched 4-H-ers guiding sheep through an obstacle course, visited a petting zoo, tried our hand at train-car pushing, and caught the first part of a junior rodeo.

The feeling that I get again and again is, while this is a fun little jaunt for me and my family, this is a big showcase for the presenters and worth all the pomp and circumstance they can muster, even if it means that almost every major event starts with another rendition of the National Anthem.

So here’s to you young lady who taught us all about the Argente Brun Rabbit, and the kindly gentleman who explained his concerns the effect vacuum tapping technology may have maple trees. Here’s to you Channel 13 Chief Meteorologist Charlie Lopresti and your 990 pound pumpkin. Here’s to you cow-wrestling teenagers and the veteran who played Johnny Cash songs on his harmonica to the goats. And here’s to you 4-Hers who rocked the obstacle course and especially the ones who had to life their sheep over every obstacle – the Fair is yours, thanks for letting my family visit, we’ll see you next year!

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It’s no secret that I love Autumn in Maine. Fall has always been my favorite time of year and New England has the best Autumns of them all. And this year I get to share it all with Little Miss Cleaver – which makes it even better.

This year we crammed both of the Cleaver Family fall favorite field trips into one gloriously busy week: the Fair (Cumberland County) and apple picking (Ricker Hill). Miss Cleaver was wide-eyed at all the new things to look at (but not allowed to put in her mouth) and Mr. Cleaver and I loved watching her take it all in. Steinbeck was just happy to be there.

For years now, Mr. Cleaver and I talked about how some day we would take our future children on these annual adventures with us and what a thrill it is to be actually doing it now. We met in the fall and married in the fall (6 years this Sunday!), and the return of the season each year serves as a reminder of how this little family, my greatest joy, made its start. Small wonder that Autumn’s my favorite time of year.

PS: Miss Cleaver just turned 6 months old (how time flies!) and mastered sitting the day we went apple picking.
Pumpkin Photostrip

Or should I say, almost mastered?

PPS: Thanks to those of you who voted for the Pride’s Corner Drive-In. Unfortunately they didn’t win a new projector, but another Maine Drive-In (in Saco) did!

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After a few days of rainy-day postponement and a bit of waffling, Mr. Cleaver and I made our way to the Cumberland County Fair Friday evening having decided to alternate years with the Fryeburg Fair.

The Fair never really changes, the bunnies and fried dough occupy their same spots each year, but there’s something comforting in it’s familiarity: in the pig races and livestock pulls, the pumpkins and mums, the earnest 4-Hers and the disaffected teens.

I’m sure one year I’ll tire of it, but for now I revel in the contrast of the farm and the ferris wheel, and dream of mini-rex bunnies with fur like velvet.

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As if the Common Ground Fair on Sunday wasn’t enough, this Thursday I skipped work an hour early and Mr.Cleaver and I headed to the Cumberland County Fair.

There were cute kids on rides (check out the tongue action on this “Biker Chick”):

Biker

Up to the Super Slide

Fair Food for Dinner:
Fry Lover

Prize Winners:
Handspun Winners

Baked Goods

Cute Animals:
My Egg

Please Release Me

Supper Time

Pancake the Cow

4-H Pig Races (worth the price of admission alone):
Aaaand they're off!!

Snack Break

an International Ox Pull
Ox Pull

and sneaking it all in before it started to rain.

Ominous Winds

With a rainy Saturday, the Mr. and I took a trip over to Westbrook for Candlepin Bowling and $2.25 worth of Pinball:

Maine is Candlepin Country

Down the Center Line

Focusing

About four days after visiting the Common Ground Fair upstate, Mr. Cleaver and I stopped by the Cumberland County Fair on Wednesday.

Country Couple

This was much more similar to the fairs I grew up with. There were rides:

Dragon Boat

Bumper Cars

(I totally loved this girl, her poor car kept getting stuck, which is totally what would happen to me.)

There were games:

 

Almost there

(Neither of us hit the bell)

There were prize-winning livestock:

Blue Ribbon

Holstein Showdown

Jailhouse Blues

Giant vegetables:

Giant Pumpkins

Oxen Pulls:

Ox Pull

and a blacksmith demonstration:

Blacksmith

(The smithy even gave us one of the hook he made)

The weather was again, perfect and I had a fantastic time. Even though I ate too much fried dough, my faith in the county fair is totally restored.

Next up on the fall activity list: apple-picking!

PS: As always, these are only a portion of my photos, if you’re interested in seeing more, you can check out my flickr.