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Around The Grange
Lebanon Fair draws people with agriculture, art, and good eats

By Adam Benson, Norwich Bulletin (8/11/12)

  AUGUST 11, 2012 --

Despite the pony rides, face-painting and carnival rides that surrounded her, 3-year-old Kylie Johnson’s favorite part of the Lebanon Country Fair was under her feet.

As a heavy rain pelted the Mack Road fairgrounds, Kylie, of Bozrah, stomped in mud puddles as her mother huddled under an exhibition booth nearby.

“It is what it is. You have a good time, and don’t let it rain you out,” fair organizer Bill Treiss said of Saturday morning’s soggy conditions. “There’s a lot of heart and a lot of time that goes into putting this together.”

And it’s appreciated by thousands every August. This weekend marks the fair’s 53rd anniversary, which is sponsored by the Lions Club as a fundraiser for area nonprofits and other groups.

Heidi Rechlin, of Franklin, was soaping down a cow from R-View, her family farm. She said showing livestock is a family tradition, and competing in nearby events is important to her.

“We definitely want to support our local fairs,” said Rechlin, who is preparing to go back to college at SUNY-Cobleskill, where she majors in agricultural science.

Mike Wolf, 11, of Lebanon, spent much of Saturday grooming three cows he brought from nearby R-E-W Farm on Route 87. Two took home junior champion blue ribbons, and one was named reserve junior champion.

“We had a very nice day today. All blues and a red,” Mike said. “We come every year, and we actually have a lot of luck. I like this fair because it’s short, so we can drive home at night.”

Between truck pulls, horseshoe-tossing contests and the always-popular Little Miss Lebanon pageant, fairgoers have a chance to peruse original artwork and culinary creations, such as the homemade rhubarb or coconut crumb cherry pies on display.

There’s also crocheting, canned goods and a youth dog show to round out the offerings — variety that gives the small-town fair a unique place in the region, Treiss said.

“I think it’s the great country atmosphere, and it’s not so darn big there’s a million people here,” he said.

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