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The Love of Labor Day

September 1, 2011

Cindy Donaldson, Director of Marketing & Personal Lines Sales - Founders Insurance Group

In my family Labor Day is like Christmas. You see, I grew up in the quaint little farming town of Goshen Connecticut – home of the World Famous Goshen Fair which happens every year on Labor Day Weekend.

This year marks the Fair’s 99th anniversary, and yours truly has been to 49 of them. Yep, I’m a regular.

My family has been a part of the Goshen Agricultural Society since God only knows…truly as long as I can remember. We were farmers back in the day, so it made sense. Today, we are just carrying on the tradition. Up until a few years ago we ran the Swine barn. My sister and I finally decided that since we didn’t own pigs anymore, we shouldn’t be shoveling someone else’s pig poop all weekend. We passed the baton to the next generation of “shovelers”.

Beyond being farmers, we are serious bakers….competitive ones at that. As soon as any of us Hagemans could enter baked goods in the fair we did – and we usually came home with a slew of blue ribbons. The big test came when you had to move to the adult section. I remember my first year with the serious baking ladies of Goshen – the pressure was on. I entered my chocolate cake – which won a blue ribbon just about every year in the kid’s section – but now I was up against the likes of Mrs. Colby & Mrs. Kobylenski. These two are still a force to be reckoned with. That first year in the adults, I surpassed those two mighty baking heroes, and once again my chocolate cake donned a blue ribbon. It was a pretty big deal back then!

My children carried on the tradition all through their youth – my son actually won the Goshen Fair’s junior state baking contest at one point. To this day my daughter Chelsea believes the contest was fixed, that her little brother charmed the judges into giving him the big blue ribbon instead of awarding it to her. I don’t get in the middle of that argument anymore.

I haven’t entered any baked goods in a few years. My children say I got a bit crazy – truth be told I did. I’d been known to bake something 3 or 4 times until it was perfect. Next year marks the 100th anniversary, and my 50th birthday – I think it’s time I put back on my Fair apron and give Mrs. Colby a run for her money. Mrs. Kobylenski is now one of the judges behind the glass cases in the adult baking section, but I’m ready.

Come on down to the World Famous Goshen Fair this weekend. Saturday you will find me judging the canning goods with my Aunt Linda and my daughter Chelsea. I still get excited for Labor Day – I think it might even be better than Christmas!

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