The magic of May in New Canaan was in full swing Saturday when the fair returned to town.
Around 10,000 people attended the 65th annual May Fair at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, where a wealth of food, rides, games and goods for sale had everyone in fine spirits from morning to night.
"I think it is a lot of fun and I love the food here," Laurie O'Connor, 12, of New Canaan, said.
"I also love the prizes here," she said, priding a giant stuffed bee a friend had won for her.
Thousands of visitors moved from games to rides to picnic tables. Faces were painted with sparkling designs. Strawberry shortcakes were eaten. Used books, art and furniture were purchased.
"It's the largest one-day fair in the state of Connecticut," Jill Ernst, who manages the mammoth pool of volunteers, said.
"We've got about 500 volunteers, including the SLOBs, Boy Scouts, Pivot Ministries, Habitat for Humanity and National Charity League," she said, along with the majority simply being dedicated St. Mark's parishioners who donate their time.
"We are thrilled that the weather turned around and it looks like it was a very good year," Ernst said, noting that the May Fair White Elephant Tag Sale drew great attention. The indoor sale featured a variety of items, including furniture, art, jewelry, toys, kitchenware, rugs and more.
Singing and dance groups also performed in the hall to help encourage sales.
"It's a joint effort," Molly DePatie, a longtime volunteer, said. "All week the parishioners and friends from all over town come to help us and get ready for today. It brings us together as a community, all working for a good cause.
"All the proceeds go to our outreach ministries," she said.
Throughout the day-long event, around $200,000 is raised for the various organizations the church helps fund locally, nationally and internationally. The better part of the take comes from the rides and games, but every bit adds to the kitty.
"It's fantastic," John Sexton, of New York City, said of the fair. "We come every year. It's a family outing."
"I like the toys, the rides and the snacks," added his son, William, 7.
Many visitors have been coming year after year.
"I've been coming here for 39 years," said Jeff Mellick of New Canaan, who now brings his children Emmett, 2, and Phoebe, 5. "It's amazing."
"I've been coming for 30 years," Barbara Gilligan, of Stamford, said.
"I like the way it's handled," she said. "I like the people, I like the grounds, and I like the things they have."
"It's pretty fun," Navin Nair, 17, of New Canaan, said. "The rides are pretty fun. It makes you feel like you're a little kid again."
"It's fantastic," said Joe Cerniglia, of New Canaan, who called it a great time every year.
"I would prefer, `It's awesome!'" said his daughter, Chloe, 6.
Jarret Liotta is a freelance writer.