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Sunday, September 21, 2014
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Editorial - 08/21/2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - Updated: 11:03 AM

A Fair Bit of Nostalgia

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

If I hadn't just attended the St. Johnsville Firemen's Fair on Monday, I wouldn't believe that it's already fair season. This year is flying by. But, since it's here, whether it creeped up on me before I could notice or not, I will rejoice, as I do every year.

Fairs are my favorite events to attend and I believe they always will be. I love everything about them, most notably the lights and food, with fried oddities topping my list of foods that I should probably be thankful I don't continually have access to. The best part of it all though, I think, is the familiarity. The sense that the fairs I loved as a child have retained many of the same features. It's a nostalgic, sensory overload, and I live for it.

Not only is the St. Johnsville Firemen's Fair a great event just to have a good time at, but it also carries numerous features that are unique, the first being its food booth. The food at the St. Johnsville Fair -- sold during lunch and dinner -- has always been a cut above most fair food, including the locally famous clam chowder that the fire department has been cooking the same exact way since the first fair graced the community 64 years ago.

It's the same clam chowder that my grandmother, who lived just a couple streets over from Soldiers and Sailors Park, couldn't wait to eat each year. I still remember running off to play games with friends -- right at the sound of the commencing blast -- and ride on the fair's attractions, always knowing that when I needed a moment to decompress or chat, I could go back and hang out with my grandmother in the fair's tent, which is still located in the same exact spot it has been for my entire life. I sit in whatever seat is empty now, but I can still peer right to the spot I remember being my grandmother's favorite and I can feel her there.

It's honestly a bit of an emotional experience for me to attend this fair each year. It's such an accurate, visceral glimpse into the past, which is something I'm thrilled about every time I see a child there with their grandparent or parent. It's wild to think that in a couple decades, they might be having the same feeling of nostalgia that I'm blessed with each year. There's really no feeling I value more, and I'm so thankful that it's something I can relive annually and carry on, hopefully, for the rest of my life.

Another great feature of the fair is the selection of games created by the St. Johnsville Fire Department. They're entirely unique, and to me, it really shows the department's spirit in the sense that this huge event is an attempt to bring together  the community they protect and serve.

And it goes without saying that to spend money at the St. Johnsville Fair, which is easy and fun for everybody -- I don't ride rides much anymore, and don't really play many games, but I certainly will always eat -- puts the funding back into the community in such a valuable way. A community is able to have a good time while basically funding portions of its own protection.

     

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