For six decades, the Lebanon Country Fair has welcomed families to its fairgrounds for all sorts of country fun.
This year, despite parents being on high alert at public events following recent tragedies across the country—thousands took part in the town tradition.
Families enjoyed everything from music to food, rides and farm animals during the fair’s three days.
Some kids said the rides were their favorite part, while others said the food was.
But for Natalee Anderson from Nyantic, “My favorite part is that I get to show my goat.”
For months, little ones like Natalee have been preparing for this day to show off their animals.
“My goat’s an alpine so it has long ears,” Natalee said.
In the next barn over, Isabella Anderson from North Stonington prepares her five cows for competition.
“We got Mayberry, LJ, Daisy, Milo and June,” Isabella said as she pointed to her crew. But the day doesn’t come without jitters that she described as “nervous, anxious, excited, all of the above.”
For kids like Isabella, it’s been a long journey leading up to today.
“In the start of spring is when we start getting them ready with the show halters, show sticks, blow drying them getting them used to the pampered show life,” Isabella described with a giggle.
But for those not showing animals, there was plenty more to do as police kept a watchful eye to make sure everyone stayed safe. Especially after recent tragedies across the country.
“There’s police presence here, they roam around,” organizer Charles Bender from Lebanon said. “Everything is family-oriented. Most of the booths here are run by organizations in town, so people watch out for each other too.”
Even parents who frequent fairs, like Megan Perkins from North Stonington, are on alert.
“We sat down and talked about ‘OK if something happens where do you go? Who do you go with?’ You know, what’s safe what’s not safe,” Perkins said.
But at the end of the day, everyone, especially fair regulars, said the Lebanon Country Fair always feels like a safe space for family fun.
“Everybody here respects each other,” Kevin Guinan of Bozrah said. “They know the ins and outs of people and how it should be.”