I've been to the Waterford Fair previously, and this year was no different; the time seems to fly by. It's a three-day festival, with different events each day. Most vendors and artisans are the same every day.
Like many local old towns, Waterford is rich in Civil War history. Since I went on the last day of the Fair, there were no Civil War reenactments to watch, although the small Union encampment was still in place.
Many of the historically protected buildings are open for public tours, including privately owned residences. In order to fully explore the entire town, you really do have to visit for two or three days. This year, Jennell and I only visited the old schoolhouse. Although it was her first time attending the Waterford Fair, it wasn't the first time she'd been inside; in grade school, her class dressed in period clothing and took a field trip to schoolhouse for a lesson in 19th century schooling.
Today, the schoolhouse contains antique school desks and primers from the early 1800s.
Just outside the schoolhouse is music to entertain the kids.
The best part about local artisans and farmers markets is the freshness and reduced environmental impact of production. Additionally, the quality and flavor of locally produced, preservative free foods is almost always exponentially better than any mass produced, store branded food products.
Every year I buy locally produced honey. The apiary near Waterford harvests honey from their hives at five different points throughout the year, to sell multiple flavors of honey based on the different nectars collected by the bees during different seasons. I prefer a light honey, so I usually buy honey from early Spring. Natural honey physically contains pollen, adding roundness to the overall flavor, whereas most mass-produced honeys are filtered to remove all pollen particles. They also tend to be more intense, and actually burn my throat, which is another reason I prefer local honey. Pollen can be used like a chemical fingerprint to trace the global origin of honey, but when filtered out, identifying the floral source becomes impossible; typically filtration is employed to delay crystallization, but the practice, paired with a string of viralized misinformation, has caused some controversy within the honey industry.
Here the beekeeper shows a vial of pollen; this is not pollen removed from his honey, as he does not filter for pollen. Unfiltered honey is still filtered for larger particulate debris such as wax and bee parts.
But what is better than local honey? Local wine! The Waterford Fair is a great place to dip your toes into wine tasting if you're unfamiliar with vino. I actually had my first wine tasting experience at a previous Waterford Fair, and this year I enjoyed taking Jennell for her first wine tasting in similar fashion.
Tastings at the fair are something like speed-dating for vineyards; six local wineries offer 4 - 6 of their favorite varietals, bringing a wide range of the Virginia wine country experience together. Tasters can leisurely shift from one winery to the next, or forgo a few to drink extra helpings of their new found favorites... or if you're me, you just literally humor them into pouring a few extra glasses... you know, for good measure ;-)
Clearly the tasting is something I looked forward to all day, since everyone knows I love wine. It shouldn't be surprising that I've enjoyed visits to several of the presenting vineyards, making a few of the selections local favorites of mine.
As wine tasting at Waterford is something like wine-tasting-lite-101, I'm going to have to take Jennell for a proper tasting in an actual vineyard soon. I'm not complaining though; my growing set of Waterford Fair wine glasses is off to a good start.
By the way; all of these photos were shot through my Lubitel 2 medium format retrofit lens; the light leaks and colors are real, achieved while freelensing; very few of the photos had the lens actually mounted to the camera - a fun lens for a fun day.
Finally, an offhand portrait of Jennell - I really need to do more B&Ws.
PS: Here is that door I photographed that you thought I was crazy for shooting; maybe it looks more interesting now?