I spent a lively weekend recently at the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, the fair was set up on the Duchess County Fairgrounds and was both well organized and, in spite of the blustery weather, well attended. Filled to the top with vintage collectibles, hand painted signs, lavender sachets, and snacks galore it was a terrific way to spend a leisurely day. And they had the sweetest vintage travel trailers out of which venders were selling items or inviting you to come inside and have a peek. One of the trailers was for sale and you can see how cute it is here:
And for the first time at the fair, the organization had arranged to rent out scooters for those in need of some assistance getting around. I had my trusty rollator and knew I was going to need the exercise to walk off the fair food, but I stopped to have a brief talk with the gentleman in charge of rentals. I mentioned my appreciation for the fact that the scooters had been made available as an option and placed front and center by the main gate. But I was surprised to hear that the rental fee for the day was $60.00, a fee he said was standard. That's a bit steep, isn't it, and rather throws cold water on the claim to universal access. Is the assumption that if you can afford the pricey entry fee you can equally afford to dole out such an amount to actually have access to the event? Add in the fact that the scooters didn't really fit through the aisles in most of the barns - and certainly not in individual booths - and I wondered (aloud) what a customer's $60.00 got them at the end of the day? (As an FYI, if you are not already aware, this year is the twenty fifth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, if you are interested in learning more, here's a link: http://www.ada.gov.)
I'll leave you with a photo of the fleet of scooters - parked and ready, while I remain troubled by the image as a facade of accessibility without practical use. My advice: drop the price, widen the aisles, and don't use so much sawdust on the floors (some of the buildings were filled with such an amount one couldn't maneuver wheels).
Other than that, another pleasant day at the antiques fair. I left with a lovely chippy painted pie safe, a bag of lavender, a sweet green step stool, and a huge strawberry milkshake.