WESTPORT — Locals know summer is officially here when the Westport Woman’s Club hosts the annual Yankee Doodle Fair.
For the 74th year in a row, the town’s favorite outdoor fun factory began on Thursday night. Despite some damp weather, there was still a fair turnout, with the weekend promising to bring thousands of more people.
“The club has done a fair every year since its inception in 1907,” explained member Gloria Smithson, though for the first several decades it was a much smaller event centered on the bake sale and held during the summer.
It was a love of visiting the fair that prompted Smithson to join the club several years back, having brought her kids for years and intending to help preserve the tradition she loves.
“I have such great memories of coming to this fair,” she said.
Along with providing a slew of rides, carnival games, food and raffle items to the crowd, it’s also the largest fundraiser for the WWC. Money raised at the four-day affair, which is primarily run by club volunteers, helps supports its dozens of community grants and scholarships.
This year for the first time, along with music, ice cream and its bake sale, there will also be a beer and wine garden for the grown-ups on the upper level.
“It’s very well put together,” said club member Ann Dorly, who commended Stewart Amusement Company of Trumbull for managing to get all the rides and games together in the relatively small space of the Imperial Avenue parking lot and adjacent club grounds.
“And it’s a nice thing for the community,” she said.
“I think it has a great feel for the community,” said club member Conchita Casell.
“It feels so joyful,” she said, noting it’s also something different happening in town, versus the typical offerings.
“I just like the fact that it’s kind of old-fashioned,” said Smithson, “and community-friendly.”
The fair continues Friday from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 1 to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.