[vermont] Tunbridge Fair

Had a lot of fun at the Tunbridge Fair this past weekend. I volunteered to give a spinning demonstration near the sheep barn for a few hours, which scored me a free pass into the fair. I went around 10 am, set up my wheel and just started spinning like at home. I realized quickly that you don't need to engage people- they just want to watch what you're doing and they'll ask questions if they're interested. You're kind of like just one of the animals there for viewing.

Everyone was really into the spinning. An older woman might lament to her husband, "I remember when I used to do that" as they walked by. Kids were really interested to see the wheel working. Other people wanted to know: 

"How hard is it to do that?"
"Are you selling the yarn that you're making?"
"Do you have sheep?"
"Did you dye the wool yourself?"
"How much does a spinning wheel cost?"

Sometimes I would overhear people teaching their kids ever-so-slightly the wrong thing, "Look, son. She's carding wool into thread." I didn't want to be the nit-picky douchebag that turns around and informs them, "No. No, that's not what I'm doing at all." So I didn't say anything.

I brought 4 oz of fiber, spun 2 bobbins and plied them, all in a few hours. During at time, all the animals in the barns around me were prepared for the parade/cavalcade. The air was heavy with the sounds of BAAA and MOOO and fresh animal poo.

Tunbridge Fair

I left the fair around 1:30 and got my hand stamped for re-entry. Dollar and I came back in the evening for dinner and a ferris wheel ride. I haven't been to the fair at night since high school and it was so much different than daytime. Daytime is very crowded with lots of families and little kids. Nighttime is only slightly less crowed with more... rowdy people.

First, Dollar and I went to the beer hall. I've never, in my life, been in the beer hall. But... I've heard stories. Urban legend type stuff. The beer hall is under the grandstand, it's one large room with long tables and benches. We showed the bouncer our IDs at the door and walked in. It was loud as we looked for a place to sit. It was also quite crowded so we stood for a few seconds, looking for seats. 

Suddenly, the noise level starts to escalate. I stop to gauge whether or not I'm imagining this is- yes, the noise is getting crazy loud. I see people looking right at me and smiling. And going "AAAAAHHHH" and "OOOOOHHHHH". Some people are pounding the tables.

It's getting louder. Why is everyone looking at me? Why is everyone yelling at me? 

Suddenly, I remember something that I heard once: There is no standing in the beer hall. Looking around, everyone is sitting. The only people standing are the waitresses and bouncers. And Dollar and I.

I jump into the closest empty seat, basically abandoning Dollar to all the yelling. He walks to the end of the aisle and asks a bouncer something. I wave my hands and frantically point at the empty seat across from me. He makes his way there and the noise level goes back to just LOUD.

I can feel my face burning but before I can tally up how humiliated I should be, a waitress is at my elbow, smiling, asking what she can get for me. I ask for a couple beers. I look around and a few people are smiling at me in a good-natured way, everyone else has gone back to their rowdy conversations. It was no big deal and it was forgotten in an instant.

 beer hall at Tunbridge intense and crazy fun. Dollar a I got boo'd until we found a seat. Boo'd by EVERYONE.

The next hour was crazy and surreal. It's so loud. Everyone is shoulder to shoulder and everyone is friendly. There is mesh wire over the beer hall windows (presumably to prevent people from passing stuff from the beer hall to the outside, or vice versa) and people would come up just to watch what was going on inside while they ate their fair food. It must look like the most real reality show ever.

Two highlights for me: First, at one point a smiling, red-faced guy was death marched out of the hall by a bouncer. The bouncer had gathered him up by the back of his sweatshirt. Of course, everyone is yelling at making noise at the spectacle but the expression on the red-faced man said "I regret nothing." 

At another point, a chant of "U! S! A! U! S! A! U! S! A!" erupted for no reason, other than because America. It was hilarious. Dollar and I looked at each other like, "Yup, Drunk Level: Ardant Patriotism achieved." We joined in because we were sure this was just a ruse to see who wasn't chanting and, thus, who the commie sympathizers are.

We left. I brought him to the craft hall to show him my stuff. Saw some people admiring a couple of my knitted items and managed to refrain from saying, "You like that? I made that. That was me." After three beers, I was feeling braggy but still had enough sense not to accost sober people with my knitting prowess. 

We went looking for food. I got a bowl of rice and red curry dumplings from one vendor and Dollar got chili and fries from another. We actually found an empty table under an awning with ambient Christmas lights hung- it was removed from the busy areas of the fair and we had a nice, quite dinner. It was awesome.

Then on to the ferris wheel for a ride:

Tunbridge Fair - night

Ferris wheel ride at Tunbridge Fair

Then home. Best Tunbridge Fair ever. 

Picked up my entries Sunday evening. 

Tunbridge Fair

I won Best in Show! Again! I won last year, too! I'm so unbelievably flattered. When I saw the big ribbon next to my mittens on Saturday, I was like, "OMG OMG Those are my mittens, that's for me, Holy crap, OMG". I almost didn't want to tell people about it- because maybe I hallucinated it or maybe the wind blew it off someone else's item and it accidentally landed on top of my mittens. Once I picked up all my stuff and I had it in my hand- then I believed ;)

1 comment:

boozyknits said...

Of course you won blue ribbons! Look at all that perfect knitting. I grew up going to the Tunbridge fair, this makes me nostalgic now that I live in CA. I was never old enough to go the beer hall, but I remember the stories in high school teachers saying embarrassing things. I've only entered one knitted thing in a fair (my Na Craga sweater) and got third place because it LOOKED WORN (seriously?!?)