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Fun, flowers, food and more at Shelburne Grange

  • Aden Godfrey holds a boa constrictor at the Grange Fair in Shelburne, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017.

  • Barbara Goodchild of Barberic Farm measures yarn at the Grange Fair in Shelburne, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017.

  • Books for sale at the Grange Fair Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017.

  • Fair-goers look at a photography exhibit at the Grange Fair Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017.

  • Yo-Yo performer Eric Koloski demonstrates a series of tricks at the Shelburne Grange Fair on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Shane Illinski, 3, peers into one of the many apron pockets of Pocket Lady Penny Novack looking for a small toy prize at the Shelburne Grange Fair on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • SadieMae Mizula, 8, stands as a chinchilla from Ron Delucia’s Curious Creatures is perched on her head during the live animal interactive experience at the Shelburne Grange Fair on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Shane Illinski, 3, peers into one of the many apron pockets of Pocket Lady Penny Novack looking for a small toy prize at the Shelburne Grange Fair on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Yo-Yo performer Eric Koloski demonstrates a series of tricks at the Shelburne Grange Fair on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Vincent Gauthier, 11, right, and his sister Georgia Gauthier, 5, react to Ron Delucia as he holds out a ferret during his live animal interactive experience at the Shelburne Grange Fair on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Yo-Yo performer Eric Koloski demonstrates a series of tricks at the Shelburne Grange Fair on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Aurora Beck, 4, tries her hand at weaving on a table loom brought from the Weavers Guild of Springfield at the Shelburne Grange Fair on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Backtrack band members Jon Unaitis, from left, Don LaCoy, and Kevin Freyenhagen, perform for the crowd at the Shelburne Grange Fair on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Stell Turowsky-Ganci, 11, left, and Maya Colbeck, 8, walk across the grounds at the Shelburne Grange Fair on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Tim and Mary Blagg, of Greenfield, dance to the music of Backtrack playing at the Shelburne Grange Fair on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE



Recorder Staff
Saturday, August 26, 2017

SHELBURNE — “Photography,” then, “baked goods,” “free admission,” and “pocket lady,” were a few of the many signs placed for miles along the Mohawk Trail enticing drivers to turn off Saturday at the Grange’s 81st annual fair at Fellowship Hall.

The “pocket lady’s” presence at the fair has become its hallmark. True to form this year Penny Novak, with sunflowers poking from a big floppy hat, swayed in time to music holding out an checkered apron overflowing with pockets.

“Pocket lady! Pocket lady! Just one ticket and you can pick-it. Pick my pocket, a prize every time guaranteed! Everybody wins with the pocket lady,” Novak called out, spinning in the day’s afternoon sunlight.

Children handed over tickets in exchange for a chance to reach into a pocket for a prize at the bottom.

“Rings, and bracelets, air planes, little packets of play money, and one whistle,” said Novak, a former preschool teacher, now a substitute teacher at Mohawk Trail Regional School. “I have one car this year, only one car. And nobody has gotten it this year, I don’t know why.”

For many of Saturday’s fair-goers — browsing vendor tents, looking at judged agricultural exhibits, and enjoying live music by Back Track — Novak’s act is familiar.

“We have had the pocket lady since long before my daughter was born,” said Paula Brault, the fair’s publicity chairwoman. “There are generations now of people who’ve picked her pockets.”

The “pocket lady,” exclusively at the Grange Fair, has been ongoing for “at least 35 years. I don’t know exactly, somebody might know — back in the far reaches of time,” Novak said.

Agricultural competition

Inside Fellowship Hall, Brault explained how officials judge the fair’s annual agricultural competitions — best vegetables, fruits, canning, photographs, flowers, and baked goods. Judges need to be certified by the state.

“There are about 30 (categories) you can enter as flowers,” Brault said, standing in front of a Gladiolus display on a long table of flowers, some with blue or red ribbons hanging from them.

“They have to have a certain number of stems. They should be free of bugs. The judge is looking at the quality of the flower, the uniformity, how much it’s in bloom,” she continued. “Best in show” this year went to Marion Taylor’s floating flower arrangement.

Other activities

Agriculture is at the heart of the fair, Brault noted. Outside, many local farms managed vendor tents. At one, Barbara Goodchild of Barberic Farm measured yarn for later sale.

“I’m Barb, my husband’s Eric. It’s misspelled, pun intended,” Goodchild said. “Some people, after years, say ‘oh, I get it.’”

On a table, Goodchild displayed wool, wool yarn, wool hats, pickles, popcorn, hops, jams and jellies, leather work, all from their Cooper Lane farm.

“It’s really local,” she said about the Grange’s fair. And this year has been a success from a business point of view. Hundreds of people followed the signs off Mohawk Trail.

Elsewhere, 2 year-old Jasper Sweet, watched over by parents Emily and Nick Sweet, held a corn snake brought to the fair by Ron Deluca of Curious Creatures.

Beside him, 8 year-old Aden Godfrey held a boa constrictor. Aden is one of the only girls on the Franklin County Bulldogs, playing guard. Her mom, Holly Godfrey, who’s the Bulldogs’ cheerleading coach, managed a fundraising tent not far away.

Nelson Illinski of Vermont Gold Metal Prospecting gave a talk on gold panning and metal detecting. For lunch, “All Things Maple” sold fried dough with maple ice cream and bacon, and the Walnuts Relay for Life team cooked a chicken barbecue.

Later, professional Yo-Yo Artist Eric Koloski, who’s been on America’s Got Talent and competed in world yo-yo competitions, put on an exhibition. The fair ended with an “Olde Tyme Auction,” where fair-goers found good deals on vegetables, baked goods, and other items.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo