The Shawville Fair

I spent a couple of days this weekend at the Shawville Fair, for the first time in four years. Took a bunch of pictures; they should be up at some point, but I’ve got literally hundreds of them to go through.

Two years ago the fair hit its attendance peak when Stompin’ Tom Connors had a concert. Since then, they’ve scaled things back somewhat, at least in terms of the entertainment. At one point I thought this was a case of the organizers being afraid of success, that the fair was on the cusp of being something other than what they were used to, and that they would rather have a smaller fair on their own terms than a truly successful, enormous spectacle.

But I’ve since heard that the fair was at risk of choking on its own success: the crowds were overwhelming the on-ground services, to say nothing of the parking in-town. Now I see it: any bigger and the fair would have to expand, physically — upgraded, or larger, or even new facilities. Scaling back was the only reasonable option, and by all accounts fairgoers seem to prefer it less crowded.

Of course I can’t tell the difference, since I’ve been staying away during all this growth and contraction.