The Paris Fair

In Family-friendly, Local Outings, Paris
The Paris Fair is a rite of passage. It marks the beginning of fall and back-to-school, happy (or dreaded) reunions with people not seen in several months. It’s a chance to exhaust the last stores of summer energy and to revel in deep-fried Funnel Cakes, the raucousness of the demolition derby, the stomach dropping heights of rickety rides or the quiet, serious competitiveness of juried pies and pickled vegetables.

Although we are new to the Paris Fair, we aren’t strangers to the concept of fairs. Mark grew up in Luxembourg within earshot of the Schueberfouer, the country’s annual funfair founded in 1340. For almost 450 years, the Schueberfouer was a large and important market for everything agricultural. Now it is entirely rides and restaurants and still exists as a draw to expats and a means for annual homecomings. In the generous year-round summer heat of Florida, Cass too attended many fairs growing up.

But the Paris Fair, unlike the fairs of our childhoods or even the Ex in Toronto, serves a different purpose in our lives now. It is a sensory awakening – like the sound of trains barrelling down the tracks behind our house – that will mean something more to our daughters.

Founded in 1858, the annual Paris Fair still celebrates the county’s deep-rooted agricultural history

It will be part of her life from here on in …. the way to end summer every year. As she grows, she will measure herself according to the rides she can go on, just like the rest of the kids in town! Kari Raymor Bishop

The Paris Fair, 2015 and 2016

This is Moo’s second year at the Paris Fair and it’s clear that some things will (if we’re lucky) always stay the same. Her face betrays that delectable childish concoction of giddiness, disbelief, excitement, trepidation. She is both overindulged and overwhelmed. As folks who grew up here have told us, she too will know this fair as a signifier of home.

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A near two-year old last year, Moo was completely out of her depths but still managed to enjoy cotton candy and sheep shearing. Back then, she was just tall enough to drive a bumpy dump truck, to cling for dear life to a carousel horse and finally ride down the Super Slide on Dad’s lap. She adored most of all the sand pit filled with dried corn kernels, followed closely by the free balloon given out at a corporate tent.

Art exhibitors competing in the Human Figure/Portrait category, just one of the many juried competitions

This year she was finally tall enough to ride around the little Ferris Wheel, again clinging for dear life. She went up and down in the bumble bee bombers and took another more confident ride around the carousel. Must be that book we’ve been reading from the library about a young girl’s first – equal parts terrifying and thrilling – ride on a rollercoaster. Although the noise, loud music and lights were nearly too much, the tractor pull was a big hit as well. On our way out, Moo said, “I think the Paris Fair will probably stay here every day.”

There’s an incredible amount of hub-bub happening here in Paris over the next few days (through Monday September 5, 2016) at the Fairgrounds. Check out the website for a full listing of events, with everything from Grand Stand shows and exhibitors to the aforementioned Demolition Derby (#1 in Canada, apparently) and over 100,000 rural lifestyle exhibits.

2 Comments

  1. Ensure your children (and yourselves) enter arts, crafts, photography and baking in the fair annually. The joy of seeing ribbons attached to your child’s entries and the excitement they get is priceless. Plus, it just adds so much to the fair experience when you go through the buildings. 4 daughters and 17 years later, it never gets old.

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