From time to time we hear from former Waterford residents or Waterford descendants who have memories to share. Enjoy this memory from a very early Waterford Fair, then known as the Homes Tour and Crafts Exhibit.

I remember the first “Fair” quite well.  I was nine years old, my parents were two of the original Board and was so excited to go to the school auditorium and see all the things our friends and neighbors had created.

There was a tiny elderly lady sitting in the auditorium and she was a lace maker.  I was absolutely fascinated and asked my mother if she knew how and would teach me.  She explained that one of the reasons we were having the “Fair” was to let people share their talents so others could learn from them.

Fast forward to when I was teaching fifth grade and brought my classes to Waterford on Fridays.  I designed a treasure hunt listing all the demonstrations I felt fit with our curriculum. The class was divided into groups of five and with a parent volunteer who had maps of the town marked with the demos on it. The groups went off to hunt learning treasures. Parents and children had so much fun and I was able to move around, find the different groups and check on their progress.  Good memories.

– Lois Myers Jennings Dodd, via email to Executive Director Stephanie Thompson, November 2021

students observing woodworker

Elementary school students watch as a Waterford Fair demonstrating artist shows off his woodworking skills

Mrs. Dodd’s parents were Douglas and Winifrede “Freda” Myers, two of the thirteen founding directors of the Waterford Foundation in 1943. The first exhibit was held in October 1944, entirely housed in the Fairfax Meetinghouse on Loyalty Road. Following the success of the first exhibit, in subsequent years the event expanded to other locations in the village to feature additional artisans and demonstrations, including the school auditorium and several private homes. Local artists participated as demonstrating artists, such as Anna Hutchison from nearby Hamilton, who demonstrated spinning for several years.

Featuring the work of talented artists has always been a central feature of the Waterford Fair, with the goal of inspiring others to learn traditional crafts and skills. And the tradition of Waterford Elementary students attending the Fair on Friday has continued, with over 200 Waterford students attending the 77th Waterford Fair on October 1, 2021. Similar to Mrs. Dodd’s fifth grade treasure hunt, many children who attended the Fair in 2021 participated in the Waterford Explorers scavenger hunt, leading them all over the village to find all six stops for a stamp in their Explorers passport.

Find more information on the next Waterford Fair at the Fair website: www.waterfordfairva.org. Ready about the first Waterford Fair in 1944 here. And if you have Waterford memories to share, please reach out to us at [email protected].