Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fair at New Boston: Saturday

Saturday morning dawned bright and hot, although I slept through a good portion of the morning thanks to my ever-wonderful sleep medication and the coolness of our shady campsite. Eventually some of the women in my unit came and dragged me out to play, and it was fantastic!

Fair at New Boston is like no other event I've ever been to. It really felt like going to a state fair or similar event, only...200 years ago. I realize that's the whole point, but it's a different atmosphere than anywhere else I've gone. There was one long row of food vendors, with delicacies ranging from peaches and pound cake to bison and brunswick stew. The rest of the field was filled with artisans, merchants, and craftsmen plying their trades and selling their wares. I saw some familiar faces, like the lovely folks at Spencer's Mercantile and Regency Revisited. There were others there I'd never seen or met before, and it was great fun to make the rounds, shopping and chatting the whole time.

My one major purchase is something I've been wanting for a long time but had never nailed down where to get it. I met Andrea of Amey's Adornments when I noticed a beautiful queen-stitched pinball hanging from a silver ring and chain in her display. I asked if I could take a look, and she mentioned she was out of the rings but would be making more this fall if I was interested. And BOY was I interested! It's no secret that I have a thing for pinballs of all sorts, and while many of the examples I saw at Winterthur have silk ribbons or braided cord to hang them, I can see myself shredding through a nice, delicate ribbon in about 4.5 seconds. I've had my eye out for a metal ring and chain set for about a year now, but I just couldn't make up my mind and it seemed my only option was to fork over a few hundred to Colonial Williamsburg. Which is fine, but I would rather support an independent small business than History Disney a large corporation. So I happily shook Andrea's hand, gave her my money, and skipped out with my order confirmation.

I don't even know you guys. It was really hot.
Photo by Debbie Hoerauf

About then is when the heat started to get to people. Rumor in the street was that temperatures had soared to above 100F and despite near constant ingestion of water, it was almost impossible to stay hydrated. No one in our unit actually passed out, but we had a couple people who had to lay down, and we began applying handfuls of ice to foreheads and necks as the day wore on. Despite the brutal conditions, the fair was still packed. As the proverbial mercury rose, more and more of us sought shelter under our unit's fly, cradling mugs of water and commisserating about crazy weather at events past. I don't know about you, but I find that facing the elements can bring about cameraderie faster than almost anything else. Either way, we had weather and cameraderie in spades.

Finding refuge in a bit of shade. Fortunately the conversation was good!
Photo by Debbie Hoerauf

When the sun started to set and the air was still at blood heat, I finally caved to my inner wuss and called in to town to reserve a hotel room. Right about that same time we started to hear thunder, and shortly thereafter lightning forked across the gathering clouds. Any doubts I might have had about not roughing it that night were promptly banished. The gates closed at six, just in time for the hard, soaking rain that began to fall. Big, fat drops splattered down and the sky was the color of lead shot, lanced through with purple and blue lightning.

The last of the sun on Saturday. It was still hotter than Hades at this point.

I had decided at that point that discretion was definitely the better part of valor, and I left to go have dinner with some unit members at the nearest Cracker Barrel. We chitchatted and munched until well after 9, and left for our respective hotels during a lull in the rain. The storm kicked up again just as I got to my gloriously air-conditioned room, and I was definitely grateful not to be on-site as I watched the thrashing winds and pouring rain from my third-story window!


  1. It sounds like it was a great event despite the insane heat!!
    For some reason I had an image in my head of the Fair at New Boston being a Victorian event, not a Regency one!! I think it just sounds victoriany.

  2. Despite the unpredictable weather it sounds like a wonderful event!
    Thanks for sharing!