Back in the day, the Westport Woman’s Club’s Yankee Doodle Fair raised money to build sidewalks on Main Street, install toilets at Compo Beach, and bring hot meals and health care to our schools.
That day was over 100 years ago.
Today we’ve got sidewalks (some in retro red brick). There are toilets at Compo (both permanent and portable, including some controversial new ones). And our schools serve plenty of hot meals (plus, at Staples, sushi).
But the Yankee Doodle Fair still raises money for local causes. Each year, the Woman’s Club donates over $200,000 to community groups.
That would pay for a lot of Port-a-Potties.
This week — for the first time in 15 months — the Yankee Doodle Fair returns.
The 2020 edition was a victim of COVID. The last thing the club that started out bringing nurses to schools wanted was to spread a virus to kids riding tilt-a-whirls, laughing in bounce houses and sharing cotton candy.
A decision had to be made far in advance of the June 2021 event too. At that point, the answer was “no.”
But now kids are back in school. We’re vigilant, but not paranoid.
The Yankee Doodle Fair returns this Thursday through Sunday (September 23-26). It’s 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
There’ll be attractions like a Ferris wheel, kiddie cars, basketball toss, bumper cars, tower drop, giant slide and scrambler.
For the less adventurous, there’s face painting, sand art, and plant and bake sales. Sweetcake Mountain Band plays Thursday; the School of Rock rocks Sunday.
The Westport Woman’s Club downplays their civic contributions. Few Yankee Doodle Fair-goers — little kids enjoying the rides; middle schoolers primping and preening; adults reliving a relic of their youth — even realize they help the organizers support dozens of worthy charities.
That’s fine. The last thing you want to think about — hanging upside down on the banks of the Saugatuck River, your change falling out of your pockets — is where your money is going.
Well, let me rephrase that…