TUNBRIDGE, Vt. - When I was growing up, the agricultural fair meant a half-day off school, amusement park rides till after dark, and the chance to see a 64HH-size bra. Shame on me for missing events like the cow-judging contest, which is one of the highlights of this week's Tunbridge World's Fair in central Vermont.
Celebrating its 136th year, the Tunbridge fair has been held every year since 1867 except for 1918, because of the flu epidemic, and during World War II. It is one of the longest-standing country fairs around.
Yes, you can eat fried dough and cotton candy, watch magic shows, and ride the Ferris wheel. But the fair keeps to its roots and gives the 50,000 people who show up over four days a chance to experience farm life and the traditional ways of rural Vermont. That means you can watch herding by sheepdogs, pony and oxen pulling contests, butter churning, hand-hewn log making, wool spinning, a gymkhana equestrian event, and dozens of other activities at the 20-acre fairground in a valley ringed with mountains.
You can visit with the cows, horses, chickens, ducks, sheep, rabbits, goats, and oxen being judged, stop by the petting zoo (with a hand-washing area), or see the judging of maple syrup, wreaths, flowers, vegetables, eggs, and other local products.
Tunbridge World's Fair, Sept. 13-16, about 8 a.m.-late evening, Tunbridge