Viewers will have a chance to see local residents on film at the 1934-1936 Deerfield Valley Farmers’ Day fairs, playing baseball in a game at Baker Field, and struggling in the aftermath of the 1938 flood.
Bob Edwards says until recently the film hadn’t been seen by anyone in the valley for more than 70 years. “It was lost footage, made in the 1930s on 35mm movie film,” he says. “It’s very high quality.”
The film includes several different pieces shot from 1934 to 1938. Edwards says the whole thing is about 22 minutes long. “A lot of it moves quickly,” he says, “but we’ve slowed some of it down so the presentation is closer to 40 minutes.”
Edwards says the best thing about the film is the people – some of whom are still around today. “Especially the fair footage,” he says. “It really shows the times – the vehicles, the way people dressed. Fair day was a big deal back then.” The Deerfield Valley Farmers’ Day fairs of the 1930s appear to have had a more agricultural focus, but the rides and the midway were part of the festivities, too.
Although flooding from Tropical Storm Irene was a major disaster, Edwards says it appears there was more damage from the flood of 1938. “There were a lot of similarities in the way the town looked after the flood,” he says. “My guess is that the footage was shot within a day or two after the flood.”