AISLYNN FARR OF Richmond cleans and preps her Ayrshire heifer “Cheerio” for the 4-H Showmanship Competition at Field Days on Thursday. Independent photo/Benjamin Glass
NEW HAVEN — Aislynn Farr shook-up an aerosol can of livestock skin conditioner and sprayed a few strokes on the side of her Ayrshire “Cheerio.” “This stuff is for the shine,” the 18-year-old explained. “You use it to highlight the cow’s ribs, kind of like contouring a person’s face with makeup.” As part of the 4-H Showmanship Class Competition on the third day of the Addison County Fair and Field Days last week, competitors like Farr were busy cleaning and grooming their heifers before the showcase. In an event judged on the presentation of their animals, 4-H’ers will spend days making sure...

JOHN AND JUDY BAKER prepare a plate of ribs, potatoes and coleslaw for a hungry customer at their English Barbeque stand at Field Days. Independent photo/Nora Peachin
On a hot summer day at Addison County Fair and Field Days, John Baker got down on one knee on the back stoop of his barbeque stand and proposed to his partner, Judy. Fast-forward 15 years, and the (now-married) couple is still serving up barbeque out of the same stand at Field Days and other fairs around Vermont and New Hampshire. The relationship had a little bit of a rocky start. Judy quit her job managing thrift shops in her native England to move to the United States, with encouragement from John’s older brother. John was tasked with picking her up at Newark (N.J.) International Airport,...

SHOREHAM EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Ava Wood flashes a big smile with her calf, Alice (named for her late great-grandmother), after winning a competition. Her great-grandfather Victor (Alice’s husband) watches proudly in the white hat in the background. Photo courtesy of Gail Wood
Eight-year-old Ava Alice Wood from Shoreham showed a big smile when she took first place in her dairy Showmanship class at Field Days this past Thursday, Aug. 8. The date was a particularly significant one for the New Haven 4-H club member. Aug. 8 marked the anniversary to the day that her great-grandmother Alice Condon Quesnel passed away unexpectedly and peacefully at her home at the age of 89. Quesnel passed away the day after attending the Addison County Gospel Choir performance at Field Days — an annual performance that she looked forward to each year. Alice was a farm wife and a 4-H...

FRIENDS TANNER BURNS, left, Avery Carl, Tucker Wright and Joseph Bergevin climb one of the vintage tractors in front of the tractor pad at Field Days. Independent photo/Nora Peachin
A gang of four middle-school-age boys climb the antique tractors sitting next to the Tac-O’ the Town truck, laughing and discussing tomorrow’s 4-H competition. It will be Avery Carl’s first year participating. The friends decide to head over to the barn, to check in on Avery’s cows. The team hitches a ride on the courtesy shuttle. “We’ll need a ride after to the ‘Are you a good person?’ stand,” Avery let the driver know, referring to a tent where people talk about religion. “I’m supposed to be picking up elderly people,” the driver replied with a laugh after dropping the boys at the barn. “We...

FIELD DAYS SUGARHOUSE manager Andrew Rainville runs the cash register while Moe Rheaume cooks up maple treats in the kitchen. Independent photo/Nora Peachin
The sweet smell of maple syrup wafting across the fairground draws people from all over to the Addison County Maple Sugarmakers’ sugarhouse, where Andrew Rainville is tempting customers with maple cotton candy, cookies, milk, doughnuts, bread, creemees, slushies and, his personal favorite, maple milkshakes. Rainville’s connection to the drink comes from his first years working the Field Days sugarhouse. Back then, Andrew’s aunt, Barbara Rainville, managed the exhibit. Andrew helped her for five or six years, scooping and preparing milkshakes. After 10 years in charge, Barbara passed her role...
MONTPELIER — The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says bear-hunting season starts in September and reminds hunters about the bear-hunting regulations that went into effect last year. Vermont has two bear-hunting seasons. The early season, which requires a special bear tag, starts Sept. 1 and continues through Nov. 15 with one exception. Nonresident hunters using dogs cannot start bear hunting until Sept. 15. The late bear season begins Nov. 16 and continues through Nov. 24. A hunter may only take one bear during the year. In addition to a hunting license, a bear hunter using a bow or...
BURLINGTON — Vermont has long been home to some of the best-known outdoor recreation companies, including international brands such as Orvis, Burton, and Darn Tough. Now, a new initiative is underway to network, grow and raise awareness of Vermont’s diverse businesses, large and small, that help make the state a leader in outdoor recreation. That’s the mission of the Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance (VOBA), a new non-profit group of private-sector businesses. “We’re working to educate Vermonters about outdoor recreation and engage businesses in development initiatives, collaboration...

Han Chen, Aoi Mizuhara, Diana Lin, and Awkwafina star in Lulu Wang’s film “The Farewell” (2019).
“The Farewell” is a grand mixture of cultures, a deeply caring family, and a group of fine actors who are introduced quickly and with clarity. Writer/Director Lulu Wang first sketches the characters who will merge as the family gathers in China for the approaching death of their family’s grandmother. Thirty-one year old Billi (Awkwafina) is a young Chinese woman living in New York with a stalled writing career. In China, her grandmother Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao) has undergone tests for a nagging cough that won’t go away under prescribed medicine. When the family gathers in support in China,...
Will McCallum has been at the front of the antiplastics movement in his role at Greenpeace U.K. He recently spent a month in Antarctica with his team, investigating whether plastic is reaching the most remote region on the planet. It is. Plastic waste and toxic chemicals found in remote parts of the Antarctic this year add to evidence that pollution is spreading to the ends of the Earth, environmental group Greenpeace said in June of last year. McCallum delivers grim news — the statistics are staggering — peppered throughout this accessible guide to eliminating plastic from your life, with...

PHYLLIS BOWDISH TIES up a coil of rope that she and friend Wayne Smith, behind her, created during a rope-making demonstration at Addison County Fair and Field Days on Tuesday. Independent photo/Nora Peachin
NEW HAVEN — Everywhere you look at the Addison County Fair and Field Days, you see tractors — lined up by the demo derby arena, sprinkled about behind the antique equipment building. Seven of them belong to Phyllis and Bob Bowdish, owners of Weybridge Farms in Weybridge. On Tuesday morning, the Bowdishes recruited four friends to drive six of their tractors the 5.7 miles from their farm to the fair grounds in what Bob called a “loony parade.” The seventh tractor was left out of the parade, to be delivered via truck. “You can walk as fast as this old tractor goes, so we trucked it,” Bob...


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