While they’d rather be planning for a traditional fair this weekend, organizers of the “virtual” Cobble Hill Fair are thrilled with the response to their back-up plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve gotten way more entries than we ever thought we would have,” said Gerry Giles as she worked on downloading entries on Tuesday, the final day for submitting. “Some of the entries are absolutely astounding. They are of the quality that could go in a national fair.”
This is the 111th annual fair and the first time it hasn’t been held outdoors and in person, but Giles, Robin Brett, Brenda Burch, Cicely McLachlan and Jayne Shaw have enjoyed putting together an online version.
“It’s been a fun experience,” Brett said. “I wouldn’t wish something like this pandemic on us ever again, but it’s been a fun experience organizing the virtual fair. We didn’t know what to expect, but the entries have been phenomenal. For us it’s been a totally new experience, and it’s had its pleasures.”
There have been entries in almost every category, and some new inspiration has come out of the “Anything We Missed” category that could be included in the 112th fair next year, such as creative makeup, some “absolutely exquisite” embroidery and cross-stitch, and a COVID-19-themed chicken coop someone built during his time off in quarantine. In other categories, there have been items like photographs and woodwork inspired by social distancing.
Some of the standout entries have come in the under-six divisions, such as a two-and-a-half-year-old who made focaccia bread, and a three-year-old who made pies from blueberries he picked himself. A must-see in the junior category for seven- to 12-year-olds is an Eiffel Tower built from Styrofoam packing peanuts.
“There have been all sorts of interesting things come in,” Giles said. “People have had fun.”
As much fun as it has been, Giles is crossing her fingers that things go back to normal next year.
“Hopefully we never have to have a virtual fair again,” she said. “And we can go back to the agricultural exhibition that we’ve had for the last 110 years.”