After soaking her friend to bone at the Dover Days fair dunk tank, a girl runs away from the threat of her friend’s squirt gun. Photos by Laura Drinan
By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
As the sun shone down on Dover Town Commons on September 9, the town center appeared picture perfect. Children played games and chased each other on the grass. Adults reconnected with other residents of the town and chatted. Meanwhile, leashed dogs curiously peered at the baby animals just feet away at the petting zoo before strutting along with their human families.
While it could have been just another beautiful day in Dover, the inflatable bounce houses, vendor tents, face painting, and a prize booth meant only one thing: it was the annual Dover Days fair.
Towards the edge of the town common, a group of children and their parents were huddled together. From afar, it did not make much sense, but as one walked closer to the group, it was a no brainer as to why so many people were crowded together: a baby animal petting zoo was set up with goats, bunnies, and baby chicks at the center of attention.
A few middle school girls took turns holding the baby rabbits and taking photos of each other, bringing one girl to exclaim her love for bunnies and her intent to ask her parents for one. A little boy befriended a baby goat by brushing it. After each stroke with the brush, the boy looked up his mom for encouragement and then grinned back at the goat as he brushed the baby animal again. Other children decided to play games first, before relaxing with the baby animals. Kids played a variety of games, like a wheel-spinning one reminiscent of Wheel of Fortune, a lollipop tree game, plinko, and a beanbag toss to win tokens that could be exchanged for prizes. Of course, the dunk tank made an appearance again this year and allowed those who had the bucket of water dumped over their heads to use a squirt gun to get back at their tormentors.
One fifth grader from Chickering Elementary School signed up with her mom and had dedicated her time at Dover Days to volunteering and making the event better for her community. Along with the selfless elementary students who volunteered for the event, many members of the Parent Teacher Organization signed up to run the children’s games, as well. EMTs and paramedics also stepped forward to give children a tour of the back of their ambulance.
As the children and their parents walked around Dover center, many of them sported their numbers from the Kids Fun Run and Dover Dash from earlier in the morning. While many of the adults decided to take the rest of the day easy by socializing and strolling around the fair, many of the children still had energy to unleash.
That’s when the parents ushered their children to the inflatable bounce houses. One inflatable was the original and classic bounce house, another was a two-person slide, while the third was an obstacle course for two children (and adults, too) to go head-to-head in.
As families finished many of the activities on offer, they grabbed some food and sat on the grass together, enjoying the fabulous weather for the phenomenal fair.
With a strong sense of pride and belonging in their community, Dover’s families left the fair, already excited for next year’s Dover Days.