I've always had a special affection for both country fairs (especially in autumn in New England) and antique engines, so a festival of antique machines is something I'd find hard to resist. That's why I'm psyched that the 24th annual Fall Festival sponsored by the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association (CAMA) www.ctamachinery.com is coming to Kent, Connecticut September 26 to 29th.
Antique machines (Iike the old red steam engine I shot at the Goshen Fair last year--above) are usually fascinating to watch and photograph. At this festival you'll get a chance to get up close to a variety of antique machines, including rock crushers, well drillers, steam saws, narrow gauge train engines,
vintage motorcycles and lots of other early mechanical wonders of the
past. The fair will be held on the grounds of the
Sloane Stanley Museum on Route 7 in Kent, in Connecticut’s Litchfield
Hills. And if you've never been to this area before, trust me, you won't see a prettier area in all of New England.
According to the organziers, new for 2008 will be an expanded Blacksmith Shop with smithy demonstrations, added exhibits in Connecticut’s only Mining Museum, and installation of a newly acquired Nagle-Corliss steam engine. The Mining Museum also has an impressive display of minerals.
Also, for antique railroad fans, an antique engine known as "old Hawaii #5" will go into motion on the museum's old narrow gauge railroad tracts, belching smoke and steam and the trusty Plymouth Diesel locomotive will power an open car for a nostalgic ride into the past. Tractor rides are another popular feature.
CAMA’s goal is to educate today’s public about our early industrial and agricultural machinery that once powered America and set the stage for today’s innovations. Their non-profit museum next to the Sloane Stanley Museum has a host of exhibits year round that are put into operation for this special weekend. Along with exhibits and demonstrations, visitors will find vendors and plenty of good food, including the legendary “engineers steam cooked soup.”
For more information about this festival and other nearby fall events, and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut, write to the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506 or visit the web site at www.litchfieldhills.com.
Be sure to bring a lot of memory cards and your tripod. If you can spare more than one day, think about booking a room for a night or two. I'm sure the visitor's bureau will be glad to help you find a place to stay.