A Fair Day
Celebrating the Rutledge Country Fair
By Angelina Bellebuono
Christine Franklin is no stranger to the small town of Rutledge. Neither is her 11-year-old daughter, Rebecca Hucakby or her mother, Frances Johnston. But at Saturday’s 24th Annual Country Fair, the three generations of women enjoyed viewing something they were indeed strangers to.
Just one of the many activities that lined Fairplay Street, “The Strange” promised viewers willing to pay a dollar for admission a chance to see something they’d never seen before, nor would ever see again.
Franklin and her mother extracted three dollars from their purses, and the group entered the white tent that promised mystery and wonder.
“It was strange,” Franklin said. “I just hope it’s a product of someone’s imagination and is not actually real.”
Johnston snapped a picture on her digital camera and surreptitiously showed it to a few onlookers.
“Eeew,” someone in the group said.
“The Strange” was indeed the strangest part of the fair, however, which annually draws locals and visitors to the barrel-stop-sign hamlet of Rutledge. For the most part, the fair was fun and games, good times with the morning parade and continuous entertainment on the bandstand. Smokey barbecue and grilled burgers filled bellies, and more than a few children rambled about, orange-lipped or blue-tongued from a Caboose shaved ice.
Grandmother Sarah Davis took a break from the fair festivities with her granddaughters Taylor Atwater and Ayannah Garrett. The girls rested on the shaded bench with Davis, until it seemed like more fun to adorn their noses with the sticky pink of cotton candy.
“We’re clowns!” the girls said, pointing to their faces and smiling at their grandmother. In the street, near the sidewalk bench where the family rested, Taylor Strozier of Greensboro was carefully harnessed and released to wreack havoc on the bungee-jump trampoline. His small frame proved too light for any serious air, though, providing inspiration for his young friends to command, “Jump higher! Higher!”
Ed Hogan, co-owner with his wife Molly Lesnikowski of the Caboose and Red Doors Studio, served up hot dogs and hamburgers to the masses throughout the day. As the vendors dismantled their tents and packed up their wares, Hogan also began the long process of clean-up. He stopped for a moment, and glanced up at the band playing on the bandstand and then around at the still-present fair-goers milling about.
The day was coming to a close, but Hogan was pleased.
“It’s been a good day and a good fair,” he said.