Strike up the band! A day of fun, music and food is on the menu for the 112th Family Fair at Emmanuel Church in Weston on Saturday, Sept. 15.
The old-time country fair draws people from throughout Fairfield County and beyond. “Our fair is a tradition that brings our parish and community together,” said Emmanuel Church Rector Katy Piazza. “We hope everyone will come out to enjoy it.”
The fair will go on, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the church, at 285 Lyons Plain Road in Weston. This time-honored event will provide a day full of food, family-friendly fun — a fitting end to a long, hot summer.
“It’s such a great thing to see so many in the community come out and enjoy the food, the great deals, the stress-free environment and just have a fun time,” said Fair Committee Chair Kit Hamilton. “Country fairs such as ours are becoming harder to find, which is just one more reason why this event is so special.”
Sweets and treats
One of the highlights of the fair is its “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in Connecticut” contest. There’s no charge for any home baker that would like to enter the contest. All entries must be homemade and include a dozen cookies. A list of ingredients must also be provided. Chocolate chips are the only mandatory ingredient.
Contest entries will be welcome on the day of the fair. The judges are people from local community organizations and area clergy, and first, second, and third place winners will receive prizes.
There will also be a silent auction. For the uninitiated, a silent auction lets participants submit secret bids on items offered for sale. The highest “silent bidder” takes home the prize. This year’s prizes include items donated by local businesses, artisans and other vendors. There will also be themed gift baskets, event tickets and other items to be announced at the fair.
A day-long schedule of music will put everyone in a festive mood. Fairgoers will enjoy music by Weston’s own Chris Coogan from 11 a.m. though 2 p.m. Youth jazz pianist Karl Schultz will take the stage from 2 to 4 p.m.
Traditional carnival fare, including hamburgers and hot dogs, will be available well as ice cream, popcorn and other snacks.
Children can participate at a face-painting booth, an inflatable obstacle course, and a variety of children’s games throughout the day.
Adults can enjoy a wide range of vendors offering jewelry, collectibles, toys, furniture and works of art. One must-see booth will offer an array of autumn plants. Always popular is Emmanuel’s Country Kitchen – which will have a wide range of tasty baked treats for sale. Cash and credit cards are welcome at all booths, but no checks.
The Emmanuel Church Fair has a distinguished history. The Ladies Sewing Society officially launched the fair in 1907, hulling gallons of strawberries for shortcake to sell to fairgoers.
The only year the fair was cancelled was in 1919, when there was a nationwide flu epidemic.
Fair organizers have always been willing to try new things. Over the years, the fair held some interesting contests.
For years, a baby parade was a perennial showstopper. Tykes vying for the title of cutest kid were wheeled past celebrity judges including TV newsman Douglas Edwards, socialite Amy Vanderbilt, and dance instructor Arthur Murray.
In 1962, people were asked to guess the E.T.M. (estimated time of melting) of a 100-pound cube of ice delivered to the church at noon Saturday. One participant, Jerry Brenner, guessed 2:05 p.m. Sunday.
A vigil was kept around the clock to monitor the melting, and at exactly 2:05 p.m., to the amazement of many, the last bit of ice disappeared.
In 1965, in one of the fair’s biggest money-raisers, a car was donated to the fair by a junk yard in Norwalk. Folks paid 25 cents to smash the car three times with a sledgehammer. That event proved so popular it made the pages of the New York Times.
Although the games and prizes have changed at the fair over the years, one thing that hasn’t is the sense of camaraderie and joy the fair brings to the volunteers who run it and people who attend it. For more details on the fair, visit emmanuelwestonct.org.