In terms of size, the Brooklyn Fair is probably considered “quaint.” They do have some fun exhibits, like beekeepers and the old diesel engines that are boring as all heck to me but that I’m sure my father would appreciate.
Must See: There’s a wide variety of cows and bulls to admire, if you’re the sort of person who appreciates a healthy, well-groomed Holstein.
You Can Skip: I had the worst apple fritters that I’ve ever put in my mouth at this fair. I still regret not holding out for the mac ’n cheese vendor. I’ll know better next year.
I’ve been going to this fair all of my life, so really, this is a nostalgia thing for me. Over the years, I’ve seen them lose the used-book vendor, the mouse races, the giant candy tent, and the guy who sells chocolate-covered, cherry-glaze-coated popcorn. I still go, though, in the hopes that some day, the racing mice will return.
Must See: They do get some impressive musical performers. And the Demolition Derby is fun, I suppose.
You Can Skip: The camel at the petting zoo. Cool to look at, sure, but careful—she bites. Hard. Visit the pygmy goats instead. They bite, but softer.
The Durham Fair is reputedly the largest agricultural fair in the state, and given the crowds they get every year, I believe it. There are tons of vendors, an impressive Better Living barn, and oxen pulls. There are also crying babies in strollers, crying adults on scooters, exhausted people, and lots and lots of elbows and body odor.
Must See: The Sweet Cioccolata guy. Remember the chocolate-covered cherry-glaze-coated popcorn I mentioned that I miss at Hebron? This is the one fair where that guy still sets up shop. And yes, I’m the kind of person who will pay $13 just to get into the fair and buy his wares.
You Can Skip: The animals. After Brooklyn and Hebron, haven’t you seen enough goats already?
I think (sorry, Hebron) that this is my favorite fair. It’s huge, there’s a wide variety of vendors and exhibits, and the food—oh, the food! Bacon cheeseburgers and cheese fries and fried cheese nuggets and the Cabot cheese sample people in the agricultural barn . . . but it’s not just about the cheese. There’s the Ben & Jerry’s booth and the World’s Best Sundae and homemade milk shakes . . . and probably some non-dairy stuff somewhere, too. This is also the fair where I found an artist selling watercolors of all three Kennedy brothers. Total win!
Must See: The aforementioned agricultural barn isn’t just about the Cabot cheese. They have apple slices and honey samples, and exhibits with bugs and bears and fisher cats (all dead). You’ll want to hold a fuzzy baby chick (not dead) and feel like a kid again.
You Can Skip: The portapotties. There are real bathrooms with fancy running water and everything across from the Better Living barn.
The good news is that fair season is drawing to a close soon. I do love a nice Kennedy watercolor and properly groomed Holsteins, but after a while, enough is enough. My waistline can’t take much more.