Monday, November 7, 2016

No Election Stuff - Just Church Fairs

GOUVEIA: Make the right choice this year - visit a church fair

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Posted: Sunday, November 6, 2016 10:33 pm | Updated: 10:43 pm, Sun Nov 6, 2016.

This is a great time of year. Baseball season just ended, football season is in full swing, basketball and hockey seasons are well underway. It takes a lot to get me out from in front of the television during this time.
But it's also my lovely wife's favorite season, having nothing to do with sports (or me). She will be in her glory for the next few weeks because it is "Holiday Fair" time at churches throughout the area. And truth be told, I have come to love it as well.

In no way do I wish to be denominational in this perhaps unexpected conversation about church fairs. I give equal credit and praise to all the fine churches and groups who contribute to the community by running these great events.
But the vast majority of my rather limited Holiday Fair experience has been at one single venue - our own Trinitarian Congregational Church in Norton. And since my wife has been participating in it one way or another for most of her life, I have had the pleasure of seeing just how amazing these wonderful events can truly be.
The phrase "something for everyone" is perhaps trite and overused, but it is a perfect description of the fair I have been attending for more than four decades now. I admit that what draws me to the great event might not be typical of the average attendee, but it just goes to highlight the wide appeal.
First and foremost, there is the sense of community I feel when walking in. The fair is put on by volunteers who donate so much of their valuable time to the effort. While the immediate goal of almost all fairs is to make money to fund church operations, they also manage to make it a celebration of life, the season and the spirit of sharing.
I love the food there. I almost never miss the Spaghetti Supper, where some of the folks cooking have been doing it as long as I can remember. But even better is the array of deliciously decadent desserts that are offered for sale during the weekend.
There is a Country Store where you can get everything from a pie to a pickle. I spend considerable time there searching for the best available apple pie. Being thorough in this unselfish research means I have to buy and eventually sample a great many of them - after all, I have to be fair. I haven't found the perfect one yet, but I intend to steadfastly keep looking.
Then there is a fiendish creation called "The Cookie Walk". Local baking aficionados like my talented sister-in-law Valerie take flour and sugar and mix it in some magical way to produce treats that never disappoint. My favorite is Valerie's chocolate chip cookies, and even though I get them for free the rest of the year, I happily pay by the pound to have her save her best for me.
Fudge, candy, homemade jellies of all types - you have to love it.
Then there are the crafts. For decades June Haskins and others have made hand-painted tole works that are true pieces of art. So many of them decorate our home, signed by the artist. Homemade soaps, handcrafted blankets and pillows, and a plethora of other original items round out your choices.
And there is the "White Elephant" room, where my grandchildren love to browse for presents - allegedly for their parents, but more often for themselves. The prices can't be beat, and watching the kids enjoy it is priceless. Of course, Santa usually makes a fair appearance too. The big guy is still a favorite attraction.
You can take a chance on so many raffle prizes, and try and win quilts and other one-of-a-kind local creations. There are so many options.
If you are around Norton on Veterans Day weekend, stop in and enjoy the fun. And if you aren't in town, look for one of the many church fairs in your own community over the next week or so. They are well worth the trip.
But you better get there early if you want any of Valerie's chocolate chip cookies. You'll recognize me. I'll be the guy in front of you.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official. He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

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