Friday Flashback #301

For decades, Westport kids have marked the end of the school year by an event having nothing to do with teachers or books.

The Yankee Doodle Fair roars into town either days before, or days after, the final bell rings. It’s as reliable a start to summer as any tradition could be.

The last 2 years have been different. COVID canceled the event in 2020; last year, it was pushed from June to September.

But now the Yankee Doodle Fair is back. It opened last night; it continues tonight (Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.), tomorrow (Saturday, 1 to 10 p.m.), and Sunday (1 to 5 p.m.), on the Westport Woman Club’s Imperial Avenue grounds

As always, it’s a major fundraiser for the WWC.

And — as these photos from Yankee Doodle Fairs past show — it’s major fun.

A classic carousel, at the Yankee Doodle Fair.

This is noted writer Parke Cummings. He may have walked over from his home on the corner of South Compo and Bridge Street.

Marjorie Teuscher and her son Phil. Her husband — a doctor — owned real estate downtown, including the building that was most recently Tavern on Main. Phil — now all grown up — still lives in Westport.

Pam Blackburn — who sent these photos from her father, George — is shown here with her sister Perii and their mom, Jessica Patton Barkentin.

The Yankee Doodle Fair, as shown in the August 11, 1947 issue of Life Magazine.

Before the Westport Woman’s Club bought their Imperial Avenue clubhouse (and parking lot next door), the Yankee Doodle Fair was held on Jesup Green. This shows National Hall (then Fairfield Furniture) in the background, across the river.


BONUS RIDE: In the final season of “I Love Lucy” — after the Ricardos and Mertzes moved to Westport — Lucy and Ethel celebrated a fanciful “Yankee Doodle Day.” The poster about the Yankee Doodle celebration read: “Statue Dedication at Jessup (sic) Green.”

9 responses to “Friday Flashback #301

  1. awesome pics. thanks for sharing.

  2. Arline Gertzoff

    In the late 40’s and early 50’s the Fair was held at what is now called Kings Highway School and they had wonderful pony rides carts pulled by ponies and lots of cracker jacks

  3. Jane Schaefer Johngren,+Staples+1961

    Dan, I may be old, but I’m pretty sure that first photo is of a merry-go-round, not a Ferris wheel.

  4. Agreed! It’s been fixed. And no one else spotted it 🙂

  5. Isabelle Breen

    What wonderful memorabilia. The moms look so pretty in their dresses and pearls.

  6. mary schmerker

    These photos bring back such wonderful memories. Arline Gertzoff’s comment on the Merry go round did remind me of the years that the Yankee Doodle Fair was held on the grounds of what in my day was Bedford Jr. High. The boy on the third horseback could almost be my brother. However, the trees in the picture look to dense to be on the Jr. High property at least in my time there. (Or my memory!) I just love the memories the pictures bring to mind.

  7. Peter Barlow

    My early memory of the Fair was when it was on the Post Road at the corner of South Sylvan Road. The Westbank Shopping Center is there now.
    The fair was held on a large area of green grass that was part of an estate. At the far end of the lawn there was a white mansion with pillars. The mansion is still there but less impressive without the lawn. My memory of the fair, at 10 or 11, was the ring toss or hoop toss game and that’s another story.

  8. Cathy Barnett

    I also remember the pony rides at the YDF at the old Bedford location. My cousin was bitten by one of the ponys and luckily there was first aid available