Our own Robert Miller put it best: “If the Postal Service does issue a Danbury stamp, there will be occasions for a whole new round of remembering and nostalgia.” Anybody whose life included “The Fair” would understand former mail carrier Bob Garavel and Mayor Mark’s sentiments in last Saturday’s paper. http://www.newstimes.com/default/article/Putting-a-stamp-on-the-fair-4831033.php
The memories are substantial.
If you were a student in Danbury, you won the lottery every October…a designated day off from school with your very own admission ticket into The Fair… like Monopoly’s Get-out-of-Jail-Free Card. And it felt like freedom, euphoria, even. We kids nearly wet our pants the day the teachers handed out those passes in school.
What would follow was angling to see who would meet whom at The Fair and where. When the day finally came, a wad of about fifteen dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I spilled into the throng, jiggling around like bumblebees in a hive, not knowing what to do first. Freaky, fantasy statues loomed overhead and around every corner, making the daze even more surreal. On a natural high, were we, aided by sugar surges from candy, mega-amounts of soda, walk-away sundaes, you name it.
I can still hear The Fair in my head.
Layers of noise rustled and hummed in the background, cut sharply here and there by carney-types calling you to test your strength, or your luck, or your skill, or your will, and you could walk away with a stuffed animal the size of Montana. Chattering, laughing adults, young children delirious with anticipation of the next thrill, their chipmunk voices urging their parents to move along. Churning engines on amusements, brass bands and lilting merry-go-rounds, screams from rides way above our heads. ‘Dare to witness the most dangerous snake in the world’, unrelenting, over a crackling loudspeaker. Feet clomping up and down the bleachers of the Grandstand.
I can still smell The Fair…a big hot mess of fried dough, tomato sauce, greasy meat, popcorn, animals, bubble gum, diesel running rides, horse manure, incense, muddy puddles, and the sweet richness of the omnipresent Belgian waffle stands.
Vendors were all over the place…
Grownups got lured into the center of The Big Top to spend money on the latest in modern cooking and cleaning appliances, fancy reclining chairs, robotic whims… all classes of futuristic devices.
My money spent on rides and junk food, with only a stomach ache to show for it, it was time for the more charming aspects of The Fair. While trying to make the day last forever, I felt an obligation to hit every corner like it was my only chance to check in on old friends every year. Beautiful and funny animals. Farmer’s displays with gigantic pumpkins and every twisted-out gourd you could imagine. More statues. The Dutch Village with its windmills. Colonial schoolhouses, jails and presentations taking us back through Connecticut’s olden days.
I could go on forever, but I’d rather hear from you. What are some of your specific memories?
Long Live The Danbury Fair. Thank you Mr. Leahy! Such an endearing part of the Danbury experience deserves a stamp. Bring it! Go to The Palace on Oct. 12 and support the effort.
Thanks for tuning in…
“It is good a philosopher should remind himself, now and then, that he is a particle pontificating on infinity.” — Ariel Durant