Photographer's Note

A fair (archaic: fayre) is a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or funfair entertainment. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary; some last only an afternoon while others may last as long as ten weeks. Activities at fairs vary widely. Some trade fairs are important regular business events where either products are traded between businesspeople, as at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where publishers sell book rights in other markets to other publishers, or where products are showcased to largely consumer attendees, as for example in agricultural districts where they present opportunities to display and demonstrate the latest machinery on the market to farmers.

Fairs are also known by many different names around the world, such as agricultural show, fête, county fair, exhibition or state fair, festival, market and show. Flea markets and auto shows are sometimes incorporated into a fair.

In Roman times, fairs were holidays on which there was an intermission of labour and pleadings. In the Middle Ages many fairs developed as temporary markets, and were especially important for long-distance and international trade, as wholesale traders travelled, sometimes for many days, for pre-arranged fairs where they could be sure to meet those they needed to buy from or sell to. They were usually tied to a special Christian religious occasion (particularly the anniversary dedication of a church). Tradesmen would bring and sell their wares, even in the churchyards. Such fairs might then continue annually, usually on the feast day of the patron saint to whom the church was dedicated. This custom was kept up until the reign of Henry VI, by which time there were a great many fairs kept on these patronal festivals, for example at Westminster on St. Peter's day, at Smithfield on St. Bartholomew's (the famous Bartholomew Fair, celebrated in Ben Jonson's play of the same name) and at Durham on St. Cuthbert's day. The Kumbh Mela, held every twelve years, at Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain is one of the largest fairs in India, where over 60 million people gathered in January 2001, making it the largest gathering anywhere in the world.In the United States, fairs draw in as many as 150 million people each summer. One example of the American county fair being featured in a famous piece of literature is in E. B. White's Charlotte's Web.Children's competitions at an American fair range from breeding small animals to robotics, while the organization 4-H has become a traditional association.

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Additional Photos by Jose Luis Cernadas (zumoduvas) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 310 W: 0 N: 51] (2069)
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