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Holding on to summer at the Champlain Valley Fair.

A Photo Essay by Matthew Thorsen

The Champlain Valley Fair is the Big Apple of Vermont ag expos. Whether you're there for sizzling sausages, gut-wrenching rides or vegetables on steroids, the 10-day outdoor extravaganza serves it up with freaky flair.

The annual event hasn't changed much over the years. The wholesome agricultural exhibits hold their own alongside the midway's manic amusements. You won't see Chittenden County residents "Whack a Mole" anywhere else.

Fun as it is, the fair has another function. As a rite of summer passage, it's as reliable as migrating geese. The shortening days motivate us to get out and enjoy the waning season, and provide a lovely backdrop against which the whole event glows. There's no better time for a ride on the Ferris Wheel.

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