A quick trip to the Big E

It’s Sunday morning and the Big E – the Eastern States Exposition, the largest fair in New England – opened its doors.

I needed to make a road trip.  Plus, I needed to test out a newly-acquired film camera.

Road trip to Springfield.

A few things to remember when going to the Big E.  First thing – parking.  You either wait in line and park in Gate 9 (and pay $10), or you park on the front lawn of one of dozens of houses in the Big E’s neighborhood and pay $10-$20 for the privilege.  I chose the former, and I parked in the semi-damp Big E parking lot.  I wasn’t out of my car for ten seconds when a golf cart arrived, and offered me (and five other people) a shuttle ride to the front gate.  I joked with the other attendees that our golf cart driver was our Uber.  We all laughed.

Upon arriving at the Fairgrounds, I did some walking, some window-shopping, a casual selfie with some of Massachusetts’ finest…

Of course, now I’ve got the Clash’s “Police on My Back” as an earworm…

Okay, no more joking around.  Let’s see how my photos did.  And the only way to discover this … is to visit the New England Center, the building that hosts all the arts and crafts exhibits.

And right off the bat, I found Mittsu No Yuki, my macro photo of three snowflakes.  This picture stiffed at the Iowa State Fair, it stiffed at the New York State Fair, it stiffed at the San Francisco Bay Month of Photography … this picture’s gotten more stiffs than a bottle of Viagra.

This was actually my last chance for Mittsu No Yuki to claim a silk of any sort.  if I couldn’t get anything out of the Big E …

Oh, here it is on the wall …

White ribbon, third place.  Swank.

Now I need to find After the Rain, my macro photo of a water-soaked dandelion.  But as I turned down an aisle to look for the picture …

I got distracted.  Someone was hosting a demonstration on lace-making.  She had strands of thread intertwined on a pattern, and the threads were attached to ornate wooden spindles.

“Would you like to learn how to make lace?” she asked me.

Oh, I shouldn’t … If I get involved in another craft, you could fast-forward to four years from now when I’m entering six lace patterns in competition.

Before I could politely decline, I was sitting at a desk, learning the simple steps to create lace.  “There’s two steps to lace-making,” she sweetly said to me, “A cross – move these two bobbins – and a twist – move these two bobbins.  It’s that simple.”

No way.  I’ve seen lace.  Lace is complicated like the infield fly rule.  No way can it be this simple –

“You’re doing great,” she cooed.  “You’ve picked it up quickly.”

Well now.  Okay… this is good.  But I have to stop.  If I get involved in this, to the point where I’m buying wooden bobbins and strings and pincushions and stickpins and … and … “Thank you,” I said to her.  “I may take this up some time.  Thank you for the lesson.”

And with that, I politely put down my bobbins and went searching for After the Rain.

That’s all I need.  Another crafting project.

Okay, back to looking for After the Rain – and

Sweet dew on the dandelions, another first place!  This picture has claimed ribbons in every competition – a blue in Altamont, an Honorable in Syracuse, and now another blue in Springfield!  And I’ve got it entered in Durham, so there’s still a possibility (fingers crossed) of claiming a triple blue!

Okay, now it’s time to walk around the Fairgrounds.  I took some pictures with a newly-acquired film camera – mostly the photos were a “test” to make sure the camera works – and then I went over to one of the livestock buildings and watched a live sheep-shearing demonstration.  As the shearer shaved the fleece off the doe’s forehead, he said, “This is the topknot.  We don’t usually have a use for the topknot fleece.  But now we have some use.  We take all the topknots and put them in a box, and ship them to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  The person who lives there uses them as his personal toupees.”  Okay, that was funny.

So a 3rd place for Mittsu No Yuki and another first place for After the Rain.  Not bad for my first true attempts at macro photography.

And Durham’s two weeks away.

Let’s see how things go. 😀