Westport Fair


Summer is almost over, so aside from writing about the usual Halloween Candy in July, it’s time to cover another county fair. We didn’t hit as many this year. Many feel somewhat redundant, and others have way to high of an entrance fee for something that ultimately ends up only costing you more once you get inside. Nothing compares to the Renaissance Fairs in the sense of paying for the privilege of buying, so at the very least these smaller ones have something going for them.

This one was only asking $5 for entry, and while the smaller scale wasn’t as much of a spectacle, I don’t mind for the reasons stated above. The basics are covered in any case. You have your rides, your vendors, your carnie scams, and usually some livestock and/or craft displays.

And to be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much. These fairs tend to be just sort of a ‘summer thing’ that kills time before the big multi-holiday season, as well as a reason to have something that’s specific to the time of year. Usually there’s a lot of dust, dirt, and mud, much of which is firmly located in the parking lot as you drive in, giving you a bit of a free preview of things to come.

So let’s talk about rides for a second and how the rules of the universe seem to bend or become wholly absent when within the confines of goats and unwashed balloon popping hustlers. I won’t really even dock them points for the rickety nature of the construction; I understand that they need to fold up more efficiently than a transformer in order to become road-worthy (even if I seriously question whether basic code standards are upheld). But part of the fun is putting your life in your hands and hoping for the best or at least filming from a safe distance and also hoping for the best (ie: potential liveleak submission).

No, my main point of contention is the ticketing. Not so much the cost—although that is a bit inflated compared to actual theme parks where the risk of dying is about 41% less—but rather the method of buying tickets and how they’re used. It follows the arcade system, where in contrast to the wholesome and honest quarter arcades of yesteryear, you have to buy ‘points’ on a card and then use an arbitrary amount per game, often delving down into fractions you haven’t seen since studying significant figures in 11th grade physics class.

Now, the rides at fair aren’t that bad, but without fail, every single time you try to save money by buying the sheet of tickets for significantly less than they would have been individually, you end up with an odd amount leftover that you either have to throw away or pad with singles, defeating the original purpose of buying in bulk. I suppose that’s probably the point and something that has been extensively researched in a manner that would put AI training to shame. Still, just tell me it’s going to be $7 per ride on the rusty cage of death. We don’t mind, honest.

On another note—now that I think about it—I don’t really recall many vendors if any. Usually there’s the guy with the barking robot puppies, but in my experience he’s been at every event in the Tristate County. I did find a soda booth, and while I do try to avoid soda for the most part, the serving spouts were coming out of wooden barrels. Regardless of the ultimate truth, wooden barrels instill a sense of trust that the contents are pure and wholesome, brewed by either a family homesteader or someone deep in the woods who, curiously, has their own show on A+E. The pricing was a little high, and I upped the stakes by opting for the reusable metal mug. Soda in a mug is a new experience, especially a stainless steel ones, but if soda is a rarity these days, then plastic containers are even more so. The only downside was that I felt obligated to take advantage of the free refills, given the $20 entry fee. The sarsaparilla and birch beer were good the first few times, but overstayed their welcome in time.

Now we get to the main event. Our original plans were to go to the Stonington Fair, which I’ve written about before, but the weather system had another idea and pushed us a little closer to home. Nevertheless, somehow things worked out. Per our original plans, we had hoped to catch the pig racing and were a little bummed that it wouldn’t be happening, but then lo and behold, out of the corner of my little eyes, I spies, some piggy pies…er rather the pig racing apparently moved to this fair instead. What luck!

Now pig racing isn’t a huge spectacle. The race consists of a single lap, ranging from the small piglets that complete it faster than your phone can load the camera app, to the giant hogs that spend a fair amount of time stopping to eat flowers, drop turds, and—more often than not—wander in the wrong direction. New, to me at least, this time was the water circuit. Instead of running the outer loop, they moved the fencing to the center and had the pigs leap into the water in order to swim the final stretch. It sort of made it harder to see, but I managed to get my phone to stop lagging for a second and snap a mid-jump action shot at 5x digital zoom. It did an amazing job at replicating my first digital webcam from the year 2001.


Finally there was the usual animals and stuff, but if I pad this much longer, I might have to start writing about how many times the goats dropped pellets out of their backside in a manner that would have passed for an interdimensional portal in any late 90s sci-fi series. Instead, I’ll leave you with this animatronic cow. I pity anyone who has to run security at night. Hopefully they make it to 6AM.