It’s nearing the end of August in the Piedmont of Virginia and that can mean only one thing, well, actually two things: first, oppressive heat… you know, those “dog days of summer” and second, the start of the country fair season. This year, like every year since 1972 the sounds of Bluegrass Music, the smell of funnel cakes and country ham, and the laughter of children, young and old has wafted through the air around the Old Lucketts School House (a.k.a. Lucketts Community Center) as the Lucketts’ Fair announced the coming of Fall.
We have been avid Lucketts Fair goers for the last 10 years, most years with friends and lots of kids in tow. This year it was just the 4 of us and, by the gods, we were on a quest. Yes, much like the Knight’s Templar searching for the Holy Grail we have, for the last 3 years, been dragging ourselves to countless country fairs and craft shows seeking to replace our daughter Scarlett’s beloved “SNAKEY”. Snakey is best described as a bright purple, sequins and glitter covered miniature beanbag stuffed snake-like toy that went missing one day, never to be seen again. Scarlett was distraught. She demanded that, at a bare minimum, his picture be placed on a milk carton and that all forms of ransom or reward be offered. Being good parents, we of course refused. We did, however, promise that a suitable replacement would be found. So, at every fair and festival since, Scarlett has searched through countless bins of beanbag animals trying to find a new purple Snakey. None has met her exacting requirements. You see, Snakey was straight, not coiled, not curvy and this has posed a problem. Plenty of coiled and curvy snakes, but not a single straight “Snakey” in the snakepit. Well, as the original Snakey was acquired from a vendor at the Lucketts Fair we were off to the fair. Maybe today would be her lucky day!
Lucketts Fair is a genuine country fair complete with tons of activities for the kids including: hay rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, a climbing wall and this year even a mechanical bull ride. There’s entertainment (traditional Bluegrass Music), good food (funnel cakes), interesting crafts and crafters (maybe a SNAKEY!), and fun demonstrations and contests. What began as a tribute to the beautiful 1900’s Old Lucketts School House and its many graduates has blossomed into a two-day annual event with proceeds benefiting not only the maintenance and restoration of the magnificent building but also the creation of play grounds, ball fields, pre-school programs and summer camp scholarships.
After a bit of a slow start, adults must have their coffee, we made it to the fair just after noon. The day was absolutely fantastic, the weather was amazing and we were told more than once by Easton and Scarlett, and I quote, “this is the best day of our LIVES!”. As usual the petting zoo was a huge hit and Stephanie took artistic license in capturing photos. The goat picture is a little satanic looking but hey, the pics won’t be the same boring shots from earlier years.
Easton, was extremely proud, he climbed the more difficult side of the climbing wall, making it to within 5 feet of the “summit” before running out of hand holds within his reach.
Scarlett managed a smile towards the end of her mechanical bull ride after spending much of the time with a very serious and determined look on her face (The 4 kids who went before her were all catapulted off of the thing.) She too was ejected from her seat but a smile remained on her face.
Before being bludgeoned by the kids activities we actually had a chance to check out some of the exhibitors, crafters and purveyors of antiques and collectibles. We saw many items of interest and purchased a really cool mirror. After wandering in and out of many booths we saw it, a tent in the distance with a halo-like glow. Upon entering the tent, we found the tent to be filled to the brim with every “manner of girly stuff“, including bins and bins of BEANBAG TOYS. Scarlett moved in, cat-like, and with a purpose. It was like a feeding frenzy, beanie toys cast aside like chattel, bin after bin scavenged and still no straight Snakey. Finally, following an exhaustive search of all bins and with a deep sigh of resignation, Scarlett chose a snake…purple and coiled, not what she wanted but somehow what she would accept. Even as we paid, she continued to go through the bins just in case she missed something, anything. She moved inside the tent and THERE, draped over a painted tree branch filled with earrings and hair clips, was SNAKEY! Pure delight and joy erupted from Scarlett! And maybe, just maybe… a quiet ride home.
All of that is well and good, but, if were being honest and Snakey not withstanding, every year we really go to the Lucketts Fair with one thing in mind, the famous Lucketts hand-churned ice cream! You got it, a full fat, real ice cream with all the fresh flavors of kid-hood scooped high into a big bowl. Our favorite, PEACH. The unbelievably fresh flavor is impossible to describe and this homemade ice cream is so cold and sticky that if you’re not careful and pull to hard, the plastic spoon could snap sending a spoon-full of creamy goodness hurling toward an unsuspecting fair goer in front of you (not to say that has ever happened, LOL).
With the day winding down we stumbled upon an exhibitor, Hillsboro Pottery, supposedly plying his trade as a potter while actually having the children at the fair do his dirty work. This exhibitor was no poseur, in fact it was a moonlighting Matt Danielson, President of Electronic Ink of Leesburg, Virginia. Matt, a talented potter and ceramist, had created a tile grid of clay and was offering the children an opportunity to release their inner artist. Matt had all the tools a budding clay artist would need to create a masterpiece. There were loops, cutters, scratchers, scrapers and he even had a die-cut alphabet so they could sign their work. Easton and Scarlett quickly jumped in and exercised their artistic license. Scarlett created a beach scene with the sun and waves while Easton created a mountain scene (immediately dubbed Mount Nose) complete with a meandering river. Matt said his plan was to glaze and fire the piece and then present it as a gift to the Lucketts Community Center after the fair. WOW, what an awesome and fun idea, we can’t wait to see the finished product.
Our last stop, on the way out of the gate, was to pick up the amazing mirror that we found and purchased at the start of the day for $10.00. That’s right, the perfect mirror for a project Stephanie has had in mind for a couple of years and for only $10.00. Steph has some great plans for it and it will surely appear in a future post.
There you have it! We came. We saw. We mused! Keep an eye out for a future posting or join us at the Bluemont Fair on September 15th and 16th or at the Waterford Fair on October 5th, 6th and 7th. The most compelling reason for going to the Waterford Fair…a fresh crisp Virginia apple cored and wedged topped with home-made caramel sauce, crushed Virginia peanuts and fresh whipped cream! Trust us, it’s worth the drive, the cost of admission and the wait in line! In closing, we are happy the 3 year search for SNAKEY is over!