As the school calendar wanes and Summer Solstice daylight simmers deep into the evening, “kids of all ages” gather at the Westport Woman’s Club, 44 Imperial Avenue, to enjoy one of the town’s oldest and best loved family events, Yankee Doodle Fair. This year, accompanied by much end-of-school and summer’s eve excitement and anticipation, along with some wistfulness, Yankee Doodle Fair, Westport’s last remaining annual family Fair, opens Thursday, June 16, and continues through Sunday, June 19. YANKEE DOODLE FAIR DETAILS The decision of another great Westport tradition, Festival Italiano, to close, leaves the Yankee Doodle Fair, as Westport’s sole outdoor carnival/fundraiser
Yankee Doodle Fair hours are Thursday, June 16, 5 to 10 pm, Friday, June 17, 5 - 10 pm, Saturday, June 18, noon to 10pm and Sunday, June 19, noon to 5 pm. Rides open one hour after the Fair. Admission is free. Best deals for families who want to enjoy the carnival rides are the $25 unlimited rides wristbands, available Thursday 6 to 10, Saturday 12-5 and Sunday 12-5. Otherwise, a sheet of 22 tickets for $25 is a good value.
Says WWC president, Mary Wells Vickery, “For 104 years, the Westport Woman’s Club, or our forebears at the Women’s Town Improvement Association, have had some sort of fair, raising funds for local needs. We started by building sidewalks on Main Street, installed toilets at Compo Beach and created hot meals and health care for our schools. Today, through direct grants and services, the Woman's Club provides $200,000 annually to community causes—including scholarships for Staples H.S. students-- and donates over 1,000 hours in volunteer support. This year, with Festival Italiano gone, we need extra support from the public, because the folks that THEY supported will be coming to us for help.”
For “kids of all ages”, Yankee Doodle Fair 2011 begins with carnival rides and games from Stewart Amusements. Returning are the ever popular Ferris Wheel, Flying Dumbo, Kiddie Cars, Basketball Toss, Bumper Cars, Rope Ladders, Carousel and Everybody-Wins-Fishing, along with the spectacular Ali Baba, Cliff Hanger, Tower Drop, Giant Slide, Scrambler and breath-taking Zero Gravity.
The Woman’s Club’s own Face Painting, Sand Art and Kiddie Games are back, too, along with the Curio Cottage’s sale of pre-owned treasures. In the air-conditioned Auditorium—home of the Gourmet Group’s famous Bake Sale--buyers may find delights ranging from zucchini bread to apple pie, baked by the Westport Woman’s Club’s own members. Featured offering will be the Club’s recently published, star-spangled, Yankee Doodle Fair Sweets & Treats-Baking in Westport dessert cookbook, available for just $10. Recipes submitted by members include many that are time-tested and customer approved by buyers of Baked Sale items at Yankee Doodle Fair. Charming illustrations, also by members, make this book a rare Westport keepsake and a perfect hostess gift. Along with a Silent Auction, and registration opportunities for Venture Photography sittings or SDSS Martial Arts classes, a variety of crafts vendors also will be selling their wares to benefit the Fair.
Fairgoers will have the opportunity to buy tickets for the Raffle and Lucky Prize Drawing throughout the Fair, and at 5 pm Sunday, Father’s Day, the winning tickets will be selected. It’s not necessary to be there for the drawing to claim fabulous prizes. The Raffle grand prize is $1,000. Second prize is a $500 gift card, redeemable at Brooks Brothers. Third prize, total value, $260, is a silver necklace, earrings and bracelet and gift card redeemable at Lux, Bond & Green. Fourth prize is 2 tickets, worth up to $150, redeemable at Westport Country Playhouse.
Thanks to Westport’s generous merchants and restaurants, there also are nearly 50 separate gifts and gift certificates in the Lucky Prize Drawing.
Shopping and touring the many rides and games can generate a large appetite, but--thanks to the International Food Court--there’s no need to leave the Fair for lunch or dinner. Menu choices include Asian from Westport Chinese Take-Out, Kansas City barbecue from Bobby Q’s, lobster rolls and French fries from Joey’s By the Shore and pizza from Westport Pizza. The WWC is running the beverage booth, and many choices of dessert are available at the Bake Sale or from Ron’s Ice Cream.
MAJOR SPONSORS FOR THE YANKEE DOODLE FAIR INCLUDE: Resnick Investment Advisors, LLC; a corporate angel, Wells Fargo, Imperial Dental Associates, Harding Funeral Home, Robert E. Grant Attorney-at-Law and Webster Bank. Generous additional support has been provided by David Waldman, Cheryl Eldh and Castlekeep Investment Advisors.
2011 Co-Chairs are Mary Lee Clayton and Dorothy Curran. Committee Chairs include Wynne Abrams, Lisa Allison, Linda Amos, Linda Clair, Clare Clark, Mary Jane Cross, Karen Eickhoff, Fay Farquhar, Barbara Gladnick, Kathy Groener, Lois Harner, Anne Hunt, Denise Kuendig, Elfriede Lafferty, Barbara Levy, Jo Fuchs Luscombe, Bev McArthur, Wendy McKeon, Joyce Netherton, Jane Potkin, Audrey Rabinowitz, Vivien Rosenberg, Jean Simons, Barbara Szefc, Jeannette Tewey, Leah Scherzer and Mary Wells Vickery.