“A new broom will sweep clean, but an old broom will know the corners” Everett Bailey with Bailey's Broom
Every year we look forward to the Fryeburg Fair in Maine. Jared and I dive in with the fair food, harness racing, hard ciders on tap, dream shopping RV's and tractors, and.... Everett Bailey.
October 3, 2023 Jared and I set out on our annual road trip to Fryeburg with a list of foods we would be getting (a Greek Gyro, Chicken Tenders and Egg Rolls) AND a BROOM. Yes, a broom. But not just ANY broom, a Baileys Broom.
Just meeting Everett Bailey is a gift in itself but owning one of his unique handcrafted Shaker Style brooms is like owning a piece of history made by hand with dedicated craftsmanship you just don't find anymore. Everett is a "master broom squire" , a traditional English term for a broom maker. His brooms are part of a historical legacy that the Shaker Community is known for; innovative, functional, simple and useful. His brooms are simply elegant and masterfully made.
When we arrived at the fair we knew we would be coming home with a broom so we decided to save our visit with Everett last. To be honest, that made me anxious. Last year we aimed to buy one of his brooms but they were not for sale. He brought a handful of brooms to work on or finish as a demonstration for the fair but the others were already dedicated to the Shaker Village in Maine for their store. Walking around the fair we saw several people with his brooms in their hands. Each person we saw Jared would taunt me and gasp!! "What if she has YOUR broom!!" He was not helping me with the anxiety of possibly missing my chance for a broom.
Alas, we found Everett right where we left him from the fair in 2022. He was set up just under the barn opening in front of the sawmill demonstration and the antique kitchen. I found my broom instantly. It has a crooked birch wood handle with a tight copper woven wire around a flat broom. When I approached Everett he immediately noted, "Oh no, that handle is awful crooked" Crooked it was indeed. Deliberate in design and perfectly imperfect.
My broom was not quite finished so he quickly provided all of the items that would make it complete. A hand written note, an extra leather string to hang it (a "thong" as he called it), and a label that my husband had agreed to glue to the handle for me. He remembered us from last year and offered to make us a truly unique broom so we exchanged contact information and hope to catch up with him before the next fair. Everett live just a few towns from us in New Hampshire. He did strongly advise against putting his business card in the ladies bathroom since, as he claims, he is having a hard time keeping up with all of the attention.
Once we acquire our broom we were ready to conclude our trip to the Fryeburg Fair. We made our advancement to the beer tent for one last hard cider and to share our experience we just had with our old friend, Everett Bailey. We walked about 50 yards and were asked by several people if the broom was our new ride around town, if they could go for a ride, and where we got the broom. We told a group of ladies to be sure to mention they found his information in the ladies bathroom. It seems the magic and mythology of the broom still enchants so many people to this very day.
Interested in a Bailey's Broom? Visit https://www.maineshakers.com/
Or even better, visit Everett in person at the Fryeburg Fair. Be sure to tell him Erin and Jared with The Fox and Crow Farm sent you... or that you found his information in the ladies bathroom.