Although I didn’t get to go camping this year, I did go to the Dutchess County Fair. I live in Orange County, but the Dutchess County Fair is better. They have all sorts of things with a heavy hand towards 4H and community participation. They have the typical stuff one finds at the fair; food, animals, rides, and ribbons. There were vendors selling everything even the kitchen sink and jokesters entertaining people, not to mention the flying dogs and racing pigs.
Watch your toes
Since most if not all of the rides are not accessible I didn’t even venture into that part of the park. But I can tell you from the screams of joy and long lines many people did enjoy the rides. We also did not play the carney games because they were all located within the ride area and if you didn’t have a band to ride you didn’t get in. I spent my time weaving in and out of people, deciding what food to buy, and visiting the ribbon hall.
Aren't they cute?
You might not take time to visit the ribbon hall when you are at the fair but maybe next time you go, you will. I like to look at all the arts and crafts, baked goods, and interesting stuff hidden inside the walls of the hall. Since no one else was inside, I don’t know why cause it was blazing hot outside, I took the time to chat with people. I found out some very interesting things.
I stopped to talk to the robotics kids but you could tell they had been there past their time of tolerance. This was the last day and they really couldn't wait to get out of the ribbon hall. I am fascinated by robots. In college, they would host a robotics championship. The program was more about Battle Bots than how to create but they did make the program accessible. I created my very own robot. It was made with markers, a small motor, batteries, and a plastic cup. It drew circles around and around and around. It was very cool because I took the time to chat with those who are passionate about robots.
All the bakers must have all the food to the judges by 3 p.m. the day before the fair opens. The judges carefully sample each baked good. This year there were over 150 entries. That is a lot of samples! I think I would have a bellyache. The entries ranged from cookies and pies to breads and jams. It was fascinating. I took the time to talk to one of the main judges. We were joking about how delicious the food looked and how we wished we too could sample it. That is when I found out that I didn’t want to sample the goodies. Did you ever notice there are no bees, no flies, no ants at the ribbon tent? That's because immediately after the slice or taste of the goodie occurs they are sprayed with RAID! That is to prevent the food from degrading or disappearing due to the bugs consuming them. I never knew!
Arts & Crafts
I also took the time to talk to the whittlers. They widdle wood into ornaments and such. Some of them were unbelievably good while others you could tell were new at whittling. I noticed though, that all of them still had their fingers even though they used extremely sharp knives. The wood they use can be both bought or found in the woods. But they preferred to use Basswood. It is hard enough to endure intricate carving and soft enough to not lose a finger while doing so. One of the whittlers even showed me how he was able to correct the nose of what he was carving because he accidentally cut it off. He told me it was easier to take off too little than to put it back on.
Then I stopped to talk to a very lovely artist. His name was Ernie Davis. He was a veteran who fell in love with both painting and rug-making with felt. We talked for a long time. He then offered me one of his paintings. He showed me several but my favorite was of a red barn with a man and woman sitting in front of it. It turns out that was Ernie and his late wife. You could tell by the way he spoke of her that they had a life filled with love and happiness. Although he appeared to be a lonely man he was never alone because he had her in his heart.
Finally, it was time for what the fair is known best for 4-H milkshakes. They sell thousands a day. Dad took the time to get himself a milkshake but I was on a mission to find coffee and cider donuts. I found both at a booth and thought, yum. I couldn’t wait. The line was so long that I thought these must be the best cider donuts at the fair. I was wrong. They were covered in cinnamon, not cinnamon sugar, cinnamon. They were gross. The coffee was good especially since it was 4 in the afternoon and my first cup. I figured I could just sample Dad's shake and all would be well. While we were waiting for Dad to get his shake we saw the Think Differently tent.
Many of you know I am a member of Orange County Think Differently. When I joined, I was told our program was modeled after Dutchess County’s program. So I decided to talk to the people. We made quite the impression. Mom spilled her entire cup of coffee that she had just stood in line for all over their tent space. They didn’t care and I didn’t waste any time asking them questions and how they have been so successful.
And it's Accessible
The idea of Think Differently is to be inclusive of everyone. It doesn’t mean simply running events for people with disabilities it means considering their inclusion in all events, business, and educational environments. This is something that is desperately needed. Not a day goes by that I don’t struggle getting into a business, face discrimination and bias or simply am not included because of my disability.
Sensory tents for everyone
I know it is difficult to consider every disability but most are already considered. I am sure you have all seen and heard about sensory spaces. Let's think about that for a minute. It is not just a place for the disabled to calm down, anyone who needs a quiet space can utilize it. Overwhelmed parents, kids, or people in general who could use a place to sit for a moment and catch their breath. It isn’t that difficult to provide consideration for the blind or hearing impaired, videos with closed captioning would be a good place to start. The idea is to be open to the needs of others so that they can be part of the community. As a person with a disability, I appreciate the genuine attempt to be inclusive because for me it shows you took the time to care.
Take the time to chat
For me, I think that is exactly what I did at the fair. I took the time to care. To stop and talk to the people who put their heart and soul into making the fair what it is. A family day out, a date, and a place to go. So next time you go to the fair, take the time to show people you care.
Thank you for reading until the end!
This is the view from my wheelchair, where miracles can make a difference. Always Strive for the Impossible. Come back next week to see what is on my mind and hear more about my experiences and The View From My Wheelchair.