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Friday, June 17, 2011

Yankee Doodle Fair a Dandy Time

Yankee Doodle Fair a Dandy Time:
Annual Woman’s Club Fair draws fun-seekers of all ages
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)

Westport, CT – The skies looked threatening but the rides and games were anything but. They invited participation, by kids of all ages.

Thursday, June 16 marked the first day of the four-day Yankee Doodle Fair, an annual carnival event hosted by the Westport Woman’s Club at 44 Imperial Avenue. Features included 14 rides, an International Food Court, games for small children, a raffle with a $1,000 grand prize, craft vendors and a silent auction. The Fair was scheduled to run through Sunday, June 19.

“The Woman’s Club has been hosting fairs since its inception in 1907,” said Mary Lee Clayton, event co-chair along with Dorothy Curran. “The first sought to raise funds to install some of the town’s first sidewalks. The Yankee Doodle Fair itself was initiated in 1940, to be patriotic during World War II.”

Clayton said the event is the Club’s major fundraiser, benefiting around 35 charities that it supports, along with its scholarship fund.

“In addition to our usual rides, this year we added the Staples High School Players, who will juggle, perform magic, sing and tell fortunes,” Clayton added. “This is one of the most popular events in town, attracting generations of families.”

Eight-year-old Lauren Spheeris of Westport, waiting to ride a ferris wheel, sputtered with excitement about the fair. “There are lots of fun rides, and food!”

Lauren’s mom, Karen, noted that the event had become a family tradition. “It’s easy and safe for all families, and supports a great cause,” she said.

Nearby, Westporter Carol Alexander, with daughter Maya, 7, another pair of fair veterans, said, “This is our summer kick-off. It’s good family fun, and gives us adults a chance to be kids, too, which is always welcome in this crazy world we’re living in.”

Watching her six-year-old daughter, Christina, whiz around in a bumper car, Westport resident Tina Meehan commented, “My daughter loves amusement rides and this supports a good cause… and it’s a beautiful night to be out with friends.”

Speaking on behalf of the herds of teens, that clutched oversized stuffed animals and flitted from ride to ride, Westporter Gwyneth Mulliken said, “It’s a great time and way to hang out with friends.” Joking, and effecting a voice, she added, “We going to party all night, no sleep!”

Admission to the Yankee Doodle Fair is free. Event hours: Thurs. 5-10pm, Fri. 5-10pm, Sat. Noon-10pm and Sun. Noon-5pm. $25 unlimited ride wristbands available during specific timeframes.

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