There are many reasons — probably more than 109 — to come to the 109th annual Yankee Doodle Fair.
But among the many — free admission! unlimited-ride wristbands! a bake sale with macaroons from 90-year-old Bev McArthur! — my favorite may be this:
Yankee Doodle himself is going.
The fictional colonial simpleton — who bears a striking resemblance to Westport artist Miggs Burroughs (designer of our town’s Minute Man flag) — will be there this week. In full costume.
With — of course — a feather in his cap.
For a $3 donation, you can take a selfie at the Yankee Doodle Fair (Westport Woman’s Club, 44 Imperial Avenue). With Yankee Doodle.
You gotta hand it to Miggs. When he borrowed his costume from fellow illustrator Ed Vebell, he realized it was a better fit for a 1776-size guy.
So Miggs found a tailoring kit, and fixed it himself.
Betsy Ross would be proud.
Which is not just a clever line. Fun fact: Miggs actually dated Betsy Ross.
No, not that one. He isn’t that old.
Miggs met this Betsy Ross in 1998, at a New Year’s party at Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler’s house. She grew up in Westport — as Betsy Peterken– and left Staples after 10th grade.
By the time she returned for that party she’d married and divorced Thomas McCaughey, married (and was in the process of separating from) wealthy investment banker Wilbur Ross — and was, in her own right (using the name Betsy McCaughey Ross) lieutenant governor of New York, under George Pataki.
A staunch conservative, she was also in the process of defecting to the Democratic Party — so she could run against Pataki. (She lost in the primary.)
Which brings us — in a roundabout way — back to Yankee Doodle.
The costume is hot. So Miggs will be in air-conditioned Bedford Hall — part of the Yankee Doodle Fair grounds — for limited hours: 6-8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, June 16-17; 4-7 p.m. Saturday, June 18, and 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, June 19.
After 109 years, this Yankee Doodle Fair promises to be a historic occasion.
(Full hours for the Yankee Doodle Fair: 6-10 p.m. June 16-17, 1-10 p.m. June 18; 1-5 p.m. June 19. All proceeds help fund Westport Woman’s Club grants and scholarships. For more details, click here.)