Halloween Fair was special and purely American
Published 9:15 am, Saturday, November 5, 2016
The weather was perfect. The crowds were steady all day. The diverse vendors sold a lot of their wares, and it was a tough choice to decide which dog costume was the most outstanding. Those were just a few snapshots of the great Halloween Fair on the green this past Sunday, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfield Museum. I worked with my boss, Craig, from the Fairfield University bookstore and other associates to sell merchandise and give out candy at the old schoolhouse. I even wore a priest costume, since our goal was not to frighten children.
I’m sure this fair was one of many across the country, celebrating fall and Halloween. But I found the Fairfield event to be really special, for a couple of reasons. The first was its simplicity. The fair was an example of what America is all about: neighbors and friends on the Sunday before Halloween, enjoying unusually warm temperatures, being entertained by an overgrown dinosaur and Curious George, kids carving some 450 pumpkins and showing off their costumes and huge crowds chowing down on amazing food from food trucks. It was a picture postcard of a beautiful American setting in our wonderful American town.
The day was accented by a terrific dog parade from the side of City Hall to the YMCA — costumes were to die for — and other mini events throughout the day. I saw lots of old friends, made some new friends and met wonderful folks from the chamber, who did such an outstanding job of putting this all-American event together.
The second reason I believe this Halloween Fair was so great is I never once heard anyone talk about this frenetic, bizarre election, which is happening in less than a week. I’m sure there were some quiet friend-to-friend conversations, but no announcements from local candidates. I saw my friend Tony Hwang — and there were probably others — but Tony was there more as a Fairfield resident, meeting neighbors and other constituents, but mostly taking advantage of a beautiful day and Halloween.
Perhaps my reasons for loving the fair sound boring, but after more than a year and a half of being preached at, talked at and subjected to ugliness at debates, as well as on and off the campaign trail, I was just happy to sell some sweatshirts, a few books and some mask sets, among other things.
I’ve said before in an earlier column we’re facing a lot as we move into this election — economic and immigration challenges, ongoing health care hurdles, ongoing gray areas like tax increases and foreign policy issues. But spending a quiet Sunday afternoon like this one and seeing people genuinely happy to be out, convinces me despite the naysayers out there, we’re still a wonderful and resilient country.
Once the election is over and transition begins, all of these challenges will be fodder for the new chief executive to deal with after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
We turn our clocks back this weekend, so our days will begin to shorten quickly. And we’re moving toward the most wonderful time in America, like Thanksgiving, where we can join family and friends to give thanks for being Americans and for the freedom we enjoy. I’m hoping there will at least be a chill in the air for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (no wind please) and those special family football games.
When Black Friday launches holiday shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, we’ll be on fast forward for the next month when Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights and rededication, blends with Christmas Eve this year.
All of these holidays and events still seem far away, but each of them, like the Halloween Fair this past weekend, continue to make me appreciate being an American. Our country has so much to offer. In my view, we’re already great, but we can certainly become greater with a new administration and a pledge to work together to solve problems and seize new opportunities. I hope you’ll be at the polls on Tuesday.
Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.