Saturday, September 27, 2008

Discovery at the Durham Fair

The 92nd annual Durham Fair has been a wet one so far this year. However, there is a lot to enjoy at the Fair even in a heavy rain.  When the grass pathways and all the carnival area are mired in mud, stay inside the buildings and the tents, explore the displays.  The animal barns (poultry, rabbit and goat; Sheep and Llama; Cow), are each worth a lot of time.  At almost all hours of the day, animals and their human handlers are being judged, and most of the judges are very good about explaining what they are looking for to the audience. The farmers and animals are always friendly and happy to interact with visitors.  In the vegetable, photo, crafts and baked goods, and children's entries buildings, it is wonderful to linger, comparing the entries, marveling over the amazing locally grown and produced bounty, and looking for familiar names.  It is remarkable how often a familiar name shows up, revealing a competitive spirit previously unknown. 

Another place worth exploring on a rainy day at the Fair is the Discovery Tent, which is near the crafts and baking building.  In the Discovery Tent, there are a range of exhibits almost entirely from non-profit organization, with the unifying them being a spirit of exploration.  Saturday morning in the stage area Dr. Charles Smith, from the University of Connecticut, gave a fascinating show and tell on snakes. He had with him black, garter, water, and rat snakes, and when he brought them out to be touched and held, it was no surprise that he was surrounded by dozens of eager kids (their parents were a little more cautious).  Other displays in the tent were from the students of Lorrie Martin's oceanography class at Coginchaug High School, who have crabs, and eel, a starfish and other tidal denizens there to be touched.  Trout unlimited, the Sierra Club, Durham Farmer's Market, Weil Farms honey, Labs 4 rescue, the Mummy Road Show, and Middletown's own Pedal Power are represented in the Discovery Tent. Zhong Guo Cha, a tea company based in Killingworth, displayed a diverse abundance of teas from around Asia.  

There is a full line-up of talks in the Discovery Tent on Sunday:
  • 10:00AM Gary Nicol/Bill McEnery -Bicycles as Tools NOT toys; How to use your bicycle for all trips of 2 miles or less.
  • 11:30AM Hale Hill – BioFuels
  • 1:00PM Nancy Ballek – Ballek Garden Center Ten Steps to a More Sustainable World
  • 2:30PM Lisa Davenport - Lisa Davenport's Home Gallery - Green or LITE Green Interior Design, Your Part in Saving the Planet!
  • 4:00PM Canberra Industries, Inc. An AREVA Company - Everyday Radioactivity and Nuclear Power
  • 5:30pm John Calandrelli, The Sierra Club - The Past, Present, and Future of American and Wholewide Energy Use
On Sunday the forecast is for less rain than Friday and Saturday, but if it is still wet, take a tour through the barns, buildings, and tents!

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