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En Ka volunteers, left to right, Marnee Walsh, Stephanie Kadnar, Hillary Baker and Janet Senna. COURTESY PHOTO/EN KA

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It’s back! En Ka Fair has been going on strong for 90 years, and this year’s theme is “Hear the Joy.” Residents and non-residents alike eagerly await this event, but does everyone knows what En Ka does with the money it earns?

It all goes back to the town. The En Ka Society’s largest fundraiser brings in many, many thousands of dollars, which the society gives out in grants to local non-profits, or to support the En Ka food pantry, open to all residents. 

The Ferris Wheel lights up the En Ka Fair with Town Hall in the background. COURTESY PHOTO/EN KA

But organizing the fair takes an army of volunteers, under the direction of Hillary Baker and Stephanie Kadnar. 

“The fair is a well-oiled machine,” Baker says. “Our 225 members have all done things for the fair, and we’re so lucky to have the cooperation of the DPW, police and fire departments, the Jenks Center and the recreation department.” 

And non-members volunteer, too.

Kadnar points out the fair is unique, and “we have specific tents for lobster rolls, games, burgers and hot dogs, chance for a handmade quilt, all staffed by volunteers.”  [Full disclosure: Winchester News received a generous En Ka grant and we’ll be marching in the parade, giving your reporter a chance to get a lobster roll before they’re sold out.]

And that doesn’t even count the rides. 

“Rockwell Amusements has provided them for 47 years,” says Baker. “They’re at 75 fairs a year and they say they really love our town. It’s a family run business with many employees who’ve been with them for over 20 years.”

Kadnar says, “All ages look forward to the fair, but for the adolescents who meet their friends, it’s such a rite of passage.”

Get ready for the En Ka Street Fair, coming May 17 and 18. COURTESY PHOTO/EN KA

New this year, she says, is online ticket sales. 

“You can buy ahead so you don’t have to stand in line,” she says. “And the tickets can be used next year, too.”

They were delighted to get a note from Lynch School fifth-grade teacher Katie Duffy, who uses the fair as a math problem. She gives the kids a pretend amount of money and they have to plan their trip to the fair. 

And on the Wednesday before the fair, Mahoney’s Garden Center helps by giving a percentage of sales to En Ka. Baker says she encourages people to buy gift cards to use at the nursery throughout the year. 

Both fair chairs were raised in Winchester, Kadnar was born here. They both say the reason they joined En Ka was to give back to the town. 

“It’s a real multi-generation organization,” Baker says, a theme that Kadnar agrees with. “I visit one retired volunteer who’s in a nursing home.”

And now comes the fun part, says Baker. 

“It’s so exciting seeing the trucks show up starting on Sunday,” she says. “And then the following Sunday, it’s all gone.”

The En Ka Fair runs from Friday, May 17 to Saturday, May 18.

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