The Madison County Fair will be celebrating its 175th run starting tomorrow and running until Sunday. The event is an opportunity for young and old alike to savor the era of small county fairs that are a nostalgic view of rural America's past. The early Fairs were the hi- light of the year and for many the only time chores could wait a bit and entertainment took the forefront.
This weeks unfortunate weather and storms has reeked havoc for the Town of Brookfield and the surrounding Madison County area ad the Fair. Strong storms and a Tornado have managed to set the minds of all to the question of "is the weather changing"? Actually no...weather is very cyclical and the early 18oo's brought many storms and freezing cold winters to this upstate rural county.
Tornados have occurred in our area in the past, one in Beaver Meadows (near today's Brookfield) wiped the small community off the face of the earth in the 1800's. The storm was 2 miles wide and struck in the middle of the night. The locals called it "The Big Blow" and for many years would mark time by it saying.."This was the year before the Big Blow..or that happened 5 years after the Big Blow!" The storm was so wide it looked like the end of the world coming toward the locals as one black wall of clouds.
Brookfield isn't just remembered for that event but if you attended an event at the the Madison County Fairground in 1945 you would have known about the tornado that tore apart the grandstand and did much damage that May! As a matter of fact for the 170th Madison County Fair which I was one of the directors, I was notified that a possible tornado was bearing down on us that Saturday and the fierce wind made us all uneasy..Luckily it missed.
There have been many "Blows" as they were called but few were actually recorded as "Tornados" because there was really no way to know or spread the word. We have actually only been keeping official track of these storms since 1950.
The Church St. Mary's in Hamilton was hit by a tornado and today it is rebuilt in stone. Areas in Smithfield have been know for severe thunders tomes many of which acted like a tornado...and how do we know?
The best we can do is to learn the weather patterns, mourn for our neighbors and their loss, congratulated the Town of Brookfield and the Madison County Fair group for getting it together and taking the time to visit and become part of its long and well remembered history...It was once called the "Biggest Little Fair in NYS".
Tell them I sent you! http://www.madisoncountyfairny.com/#!schedule-of-events/cigq
PS... Of interest....during the 1945 tornado a barn was severely damaged. Some Amish families from Pennsylvania took the train to Hubbardsville and proceeded to the farm to help rebuild the farmer's barn!