Even though the skies were clear and blue at 6 p.m., Friday, the firefighters worried it would rain on the Bridgewater Country Fair parade. Sure enough, by 6:45, the parade began with the flash of lightening and the bang of thunder.
The rain got so bad that when the Newtown Underwater Search and Rescue float passed by, paradegoers cheered loudly. The fair draws residents and firefighters, who march in the parade, from all across the region.
Jeff Dunkerton and Ryan Murphy, of Brookfield's Candlewood Fire Department, said it has been years since it has not rained on the Bridgewater Country Fair, but it has never kept anyone from marching.
“They've been polishing up the trucks for days now,” Dunkerton said.
It did rain, and it rained hard, but fairgoers made the best of it. As they stood in the downpour, fireman-crazy teenage girls cheered each truck that passed, and said that each fireman was cuter than next.
Family and friends, who were lucky enough to live across the street from the fair, gathered under a small porch and reveled in the excitement that the rain didn't dampen.
Karen Burrows, of Stratford, whose grandmother had owned the house, has been coming to this fair for all of her 60 years, which is the same number of years the fair has been held.
Others found shelter in the tents, and were thoroughly content with the evening. Mark Simonelli and Sara Byxbee, from Bethel, agreed that the sausage and peppers were worth the trip alone.
“I'm here for the lumberjack event, but I remember when it was a real competition,” Simonelli said. “Now they do demonstrations.”
The most common phrase uttered by all of the firefighters was, “It wouldn't be Bridgewater, if it didn't rain.”
“It wouldn't be Bridgewater, if it didn't rain,” said Brookfield fireman Nick Galen. “It's always an adventure.”
Jim Pastor of Brookfield shrugged and said it didn't matter. “It rains every year,” he said.
Pastor's girlfriend, Sharon Hayes, who was as soaking wet as Pastor, said, “You gotta come and watch. You just gotta come!”
Before too long, the clouds broke and the sky cleared, and people made their way out of the tents. Some went out to the games, some to the vendors, and others went on to visit one tent after the next.
Newtown resident and self-described "city-boy-turned-farmer" Sebastian Miraglia, director of Kent Antique Machinery, was at the fair to show off his tractor, which dates to 1943.
"I restore antique machinery," he said. "I'm the same age as this tractor."
Among the festivities at the fair was the Hot Dog Pig Race. The audience squealed with laughter and quickly moved on to watch the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Exhibition.
The Bridgewater Country Fair will continue through Sunday, with many activities and events throughout the weekend. For directions and the calendar of events, visit http://www.bridgewaterfair.com.