The First Parish Unitarian Universalist church has been an establishment in Arlington for nearly 300 years. And its parishioners have been hosting the annual, autumnal Harvest Moon Fair for at least a century and a half.
Little information is readily available about the fair’s early history, but the fair today has a format familiar to repeat attenders. Sections of the fair, with their hand-lettered calligraphic signs, have become institutions of the event.
A line formed along the front path two hours before the fair started, full of locals and visitors eagerly anticipating the fair’s attractions. Inside, they crowded the nave, buying tickets for the quilt raffle, and looking for deals at the blue table, the Tuck table, the Holly Shop, and “The Buttery” bake sale.
Elsewhere in the church, attendees shopped for used jewelry, electronics, and books. Each type of item had its own dedicated room.
If brownies, cornbread, and cookies from The Buttery weren’t enough to sate their hunger, they bought meal tickets for the “Hole in the Wall” cafe.
This year, a meal ticket bought them access to a Tex-Mex from a buffet. In the late morning, cafe patrons ate to the sound of fiddles from Giulia Haible and Maggie MacPhail, two of the musicians providing entertainment in a cabaret in one corner.
Part flea market, part craft fair, and part bake sale, the Unitarian Universalists make the Harvest Moon Fair possible with their donations of new and used items, homemade food, artistic skill, and time.
The fair’s proceeds support the church, making it possible for them to keep hosting popular events like this one.