Today the Somerset County fair opens, so drive down to Princess Anne and take a look see. I was asked to be one of the judges of the photographic entries and yesterday I drove down to judge. This was my first time judging and it was harder than I expected. County Fairs seem to be getting smaller as they compete with so many other events on Delmarva. I think the Somerset county fair is getting larger each year, I guess it is due to the people who run the fair getting out there and working to improve it.
The photography entries at the county and state fairs always have a large number of entries. I am disappointed with the fine art and other art crafts at the fairs. It may be due to the lack of teaching the arts in the schools on the Delmarva. There is usually only a small number of paintings, pottery, sculptures, calligraphy etc at the fairs. I would think with a college in Princess Anne there would be more art students entering exhibits.
Altho Delmarva lacks mountains there are a number of panoramic views to paint and draw. With a combination of farming and working the water in Delmarva counties, I would expect to see more art work along that theme but rarely do you see it. Now I know a number of people consider the landscape on Delmarva to be boring. I have even heard stories of how Delmarva contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs. (it would seem when the dinosaurs were fleeing the ice glaciers they came down Delmarva and die of boredom). I do think true artists find art items of interest, Van Gogh sunflowers and Monet garden scenes come to mind.
A few years back my family and I visited Del Mar, California and went to the Del Mar fair. Now the Del mar Fair was not just for Del Mar but was the San Deigo county fair, so it was big. I am not trying to compare a Delmarva County fair to a California county fair as those people are filthy rich compared to Delmarva, but the range of art work from students at the Del Mar fair was amazing. In simple volume if you took all the art work from the Delmarva county fairs and Delaware State fair you still would not have the number of entries at the Del mar Fair. The creativity was also amazing.
Friday, July 28, 2006
The best oyster sandwichs on Delmarva are served at the Chincoteague carnival. I have given up on oyster sandwiches at other carnivals such as Hebron and Sharptown because they have so few oysters and are loaded with grease. The only disadvantage to the oysters sandwiches at Chincoteague is they are so good you don't want to try the crabcake sandwiches and clam sandwiches. Wednesday was hot, too say the least, at the fair grounds. There is little shade there. The seagulls were waiting on the rooftops to grab your french fries as you lifted one to your mouth. The ponies were penned up in the back of the fair grounds and there were lots of small ones. I understand one of the mares they swam across the channel was in labor and gave birth after she swam across.
The Chincoteague pony swim seems to be more than a tourist attraction. It is also a home coming week for Chincoteaguers who have moved away. You see a lot of hugging and greeting at the carnival. The Amish are always there and this year I saw my first black Amish person. He was a small child about 4 years old. Like the Mormons, minorities are rare in the Amish sect. It was an Amish person who won the pony they raffled away this year. My daughter was disappointed, as each year she buys raffle tickets to win the pony, I was over joyed she didn't win as I don't need one more pet hanging around the house. God knows what I would do with a horse to feed, house and pay vet bills for.
On Wednesday Susan and I, along with several thousand other people, stood in the mud for two hours to watch the ponies swim from Assateague Island across the Chincoteague channel to Chincoteague. When you think of Chincoteague you think of mosquito and horse flys, but I encountered none. I get eat up in my backyard in Delmar by them, but there are none standing in a marsh in Chincoteague on pony swim day. The pony swim is unique on Delmarva since so many people come from far away to see it. The people next to us were from Ohio and New England. They swam the ponies at high tide so there was even more water in the marsh than usual for a pony swim. Those people who were standing in knee high water for two hours must have had legs and feet that looked like prunes. Anyway with several thousand people walking thru the marsh it turned it to mud fairly quickly. People who were there for the first time were expecting to see more than the usual top of the pony heads as they swam across the channel, I don't know why as it was a pony swim. After the ponies had rested an hour from the swim they ran them thru the town to the fair grounds where they were corralled for the pony auction. There were lots of colts this year.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Monday, July 24, 2006
Susan and I went down to Assateague this morning to watch the Chincoteague Fire Company move the ponies at the north end down the beach to the south end corral. This use to be one of the lesser known items of Pony swimming week but now the crowd is getting larger. Today there may have been 1,500 people on the beach at 7 AM to watch the ponies. The crowd today is still better than Wednesday, when they swim them, since it is 35,000 to 50,000 people. Today the crowd is mostly made up of grandparents with their grandkids. Photos were hard to take this morning due to the fog that was still settled on the beach. I think everyone there had at least one camera. It only takes about 3 minutes for the ponies to run by you so it is over quickly. The Park Service decided to do away with the North parking lot so everyone had to park on the south side. Many cars were parked head first into loose sand and on leaving we watched them being shoveled and pushed out. The traffic backup is such that it takes about an hour to get off Assateague after the run. You can go look at the ponies in the south corral waiting for Wednesday and swim day.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
The Delaware State Fair is an event where baseball hats and obesity rules. However when the "State Fair" is talked about on Delmarva there is only one State Fair referred to and that is the Delaware State Fair. We went up to it today. As usual for the fair it rained, but it wouldn't be the Fair if it didn't, it is all part of the experience. We visited all the exhibition halls, animals barns, held baby chicks, picked up all the free stuff the politicians were giving away, ate Fair food and people watched. We saw some Delmar people and Vincent Farms was well represented with Teresa, Hallie and the boys exhibiting their swine.