The Comedy and Tragedy of County Fairs

Aug 27, 2022

We went to the Caledonia County Fair yesterday. I used to go with my parents every Summer when I was a kid, because it was honestly about the only thing to do in the Summer in the Northeast Kingdom back then, short of the day they switched the movie at the theatre in St. Johnsbury.

I don’t remember the fair as much: there were the cows, goats, other small animals being judged (with every single one seemingly winning first place), a demolition derby, a tractor/horse/ox pull, rides that had not seen a maintenance check since the day they left the facility that built them, the usual lineup of crappy carnival games and fair food mixed in with local grub.

This year was a lot of the same. The big hit was the magic show — Lorelei got picked to be the last “assistant”, and was part of an elaborate “pick a card, any card” trick during which she was part of a sham wedding to a Vermont boy and was threatened to have her armed removed.

The card Lorelei picked and how she made it clear it was hers.

But the big difference from when I was a kid was the “guns and Trump” stalls all about the fair. Need a hat with a pistol on it and the words “we don’t call 911 here” above it? Need a Trump 2024 flag? Need a “let’s go Brandon”, uh, anything?

Thirty years ago you’d see some knock off No Fear shirts, or Calvin pissing on whatever stickers, but it tended towards Beavis and Butthead levels of stupid and silly, not blatantly offensive. And it’s not like I think Vermont is the hyper-liberal wonderland some people picture it as (the “no steppy on snek” flags don’t stop at the Connecticut River) but it’s disappointing to see so much of the fair become political Hot Topics for shitfucks.

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