- Kirk Ritchie
Here Comes the Fair and My Dearest Friends.
As my tenure as an owner of this grand old fair comes to an end, I think back on all of the wonderful people who have helped make the Springfield Fair so unique and special. Many good friends and family members have passed on. To be fair, I’ve been an owner for only 31 years. This ole girl was started back in 1851. There must have been thousands of dedicated local people who helped build our fair into the special event and unique part of the local history that it is today.
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To name a few (please forgive me if your family member’s name is not noted here. There have been far too many to mention – but they will always be remembered) – my mom, Elizabeth Ritchie, who loved to bake, coddle, encourage and smile while staffing the information booth with Ken and Tina. Normie Ham who worked tirelessly to prepare our facility for the thousands who unknowingly walked across his recently cut grass. Tim Blanchard – always offering Joanne’s help in whatever venture or project he felt worthy ---- for her to do. Charlie Simpson, a kind and good natured, perfect example of what makes the Fair special. Dick Curless – our first famous performer who loved the Springfield Fair like no other. Pauline Arbo who raced into the beano hall every year to try and enhance her kid’s inheritance with fresh bingo winnings. Roger & Terri Stacey – he for many years of quietly keeping the grounds safe and clean – she for forcing me to see the fair through the eyes of an excited Springfield (Lakeville) inhabitant. Jason Ham … “I’ll tell ya one G.D. thing” – always a laugh while he brought his dog Laddie to take/leave a fresh pile on our lawn. Clayton & Claire Raymond – always there and ready to help. Fernald Linscott – telling stories of yester year by starting out contemplatively “I’m just a simple man” … and then giving a brief lesson in local history. Hazen Sawtelle – recently passed – one of the small group who helped save the fair from extinction and by selling to Kevin and I in 1991. Everett McLeod – the voice of the fair “give ‘em a good hand ladies and gentlemen.” My blushing bride’s grandparents – Helen and Erland Goodhue – 5th generation dairy farmers, picked up trash, encouraged kids and into their 90’s wanting to be a part of something as special as our fair. Oopie Thompson – the comical but kind announcer for the Talent Show. Steve & Therese Sawyer – loyal, honest, kind and kinda caustic (only Steve). And Tina Pond – as kind and caring person as any of us will ever meet. There are so many more who should be named. Please forgive me. I could only mention a few. It is my hope that, while reading through the few names, you will remember your special family members or friends who have been an important part of the fabric of this incredible institution – The Springfield Fair.
I have been blessed and honored to be a small part of the fair. I would like to thank each and every one of you (past and present) who have allowed me to be a part of the area and this wonderful fair, to let me do my thing while trying to put together a fair, some concerts and other events that, hopefully, helping bring commerce to local merchants, entice new folks to the area and put a smile on your kid’s face. It has been a blast. For 31 years much of my time has been spent putting together “this year’s” Springfield Fair – the first 15 with Kevin and these last 16 years with Krafty (assisted by Clyde ---- among others). Thank you gentlemen.
Now, it’s on to the new owners – Dustin Gordon and Ashley LaDuke. Go get ‘em. May the wind be always at your backs.
To all those who directly helped me/us build the fair – our superintendents, volunteers, exhibitors, friends & families – it never could have happened without you. To the patriarch of the fair – Ron Doane – you and your family were here long before I was. Doing what needed to be done. Well done kind sir(s). Carrie – putting up with my bitching. Isaac – for putting up with me always having to do something fair related – not enough time for wiffle ball and for growing up in the era without a carnival. I’ll have more time now – God willing.
Always support local people and local events. That is where memories are made. There’s no place like Maine and there’s nothing quite like the Springfield Fair! See ya Labor Day Weekend - I want to see you there!