Ledyard Fair can stay put if it simplifies
It’s time to rethink the Ledyard Fair. This re-evaluation is necessary because some of the land that was previously part of the Fairgrounds is being sold to a private developer. The future fairs could be held in the current location if the Fair Association would do a little bit of repositioning and downsizing.
Our re-evaluation should start by asking, what is purpose of the Ledyard Fair? Loretta Kent, the Fair Association president, has said that the event “unites our town and celebrates Ledyard’s agricultural heritage.” Others have added that it should be fun for all ages, educational, and provide an opportunity to raise money for good causes.
If we agree that those are the purposes, how could we downsize the fair without losing our reasons for its existence? Here are some suggestions:
1. Eliminate the pulling events to free that space.
2. Downsize the rides and move them elsewhere.
3. Eliminate the commercially run games. (They take up too much space and they are not consistent with our primary purpose.)
4. Perhaps hold the horse show on a separate weekend.
5. Encourage more participation by local non-profit groups (let them sell food and run games).
6. Play up the vocational-agricultural shows and their educational demonstrations. Highlight the community exhibits, such as those in the church hall.
7. Go back to traditional entertainment, like doll carriage parades, greased watermelons and sack races.
8. Let’s make next year’s 75th fair a retro fair. Don’t worry whether we’re called a district fair or a local fair. We’re happy being just plain Ledyard Fair.
David Holdridge lives in Ledyard and formerly served on the Town Council there.
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