You can certainly tell that it’s Autumn in New England now! Besides the wonderful scent of apple pies baking, smoke rising from the wood-burning stoves and the changing of the leaves, leaf peeping season brings local and county agricultural fairs! It’s always fun to take the grandchildren and go to the Durham Fair!
Fairs In September
For the last several weekends in a row, my family has enjoyed some early fall activities and visited quite a few local fairs. We’ve been to the Farm Day Festival, Haddam Neck Fair and The Big E in Massachusetts, (Eastern States Exposition.)
Owned and operated by the Durham Agricultural Fair Association, Inc., the Durham Fair is the largest fair in North America managed entirely by unpaid volunteers.
My Hubby and I have been going to the Durham Fair since even before my own kids were born, and now it’s an annual fall event with the whole family, especially the grandchildren!
The weather frequently changes here. Sometimes it’s especially humid for this time of year in Connecticut, or otherwise you freeze. You would think it was Mud Season in Vermont because sometimes it rains and many of the fields that normally allow parking just ripe for muddin’ !
Despite the heat, we always enjoy the live entertainment, rides and games on the Carnival Midway. There are farm animals, first-class animal competitions and discovery events on the Corn Stalk Stage, along with my favorites, the crafts, exhibits, shopping and fun food including famous fried dough. Yummy! We always try to eat at civic organization booths, and ate at the Lions Club booth. We try to sit under a tent for shade with plenty of picnic tables, and a live guitarist playing Folk Music. The cheeseburgers are huge and tasty, along with the foot-long hotdogs, and fresh apple cider from Lyman Orchards. We also like to to try one of the chicken barbeque dinners that several of the church groups put on.
You can walk through the permanent buildings housing the displays of award-winning baked goods, gingerbread houses, canned vegetables, jams and jellies. I like to view the floral arrangements, craft fair section, quilts, handmade crochet items and vintage agricultural antique farm machinery.
The kids like to enjoy climbing on the John Deere tractors!
If you choose to leave the fairgrounds early, you can return by getting your hand stamped as there’s always live entertainment on the main stage for the weekend which in the past included KC and the Sunshine Band; Blues Traveler and Steel Magnolia.
The first fair in 1916 was held entirely on the Durham Town Green but now is spread over 45 adjacent acres of farmland, and there are many permanent structures. What was once a local event now has turned into the largest of its kind in Connecticut.
For the kids who live in the Durham area, Opening Day is like a major holiday, and they get a half-day off from school! The first fair drew about 2,000 people mainly from Durham and the surrounding towns but now, if the weather is good the fair may draw over 200,000 people from all over Connecticut and surrounding states.
The Durham Fair remains 100% volunteer run and a true agricultural fair, contributing academic scholarships and charitable donations totaling over $50,000 through the work of the Durham Fair Foundation.
Scenes from the Durham Fair
Put the Durham Fair on your list of things to do in Connecticut if you’re looking for fair rides and good old-fashioned family fun!
For More Information visit: www.durhamfair.com
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