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New England Agricultural, County, and State Fairs

Picture of the Sign for the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair

Sign for the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair

They go by many names – agricultural fair, county fair, country fair, or state fair – but they are a tradition almost as old as New England itself. These fairs celebrate an agrarian way of life and the bounty of the harvest. Agricultural activities, attractions, and themes abound in these family-oriented events.

Many of New England’s fairs have long-standing traditions that date well back into the 1800s, and for one, the Bondville Fair in Bondville, Vermont, all the way back to 1797. The oldest fairs in New England by state are:

  • Connecticut: Brooklyn Fair (1809) in Brooklyn
  • Maine: Skowhegan State Fair (1818) in Skowhegan
  • Massachusetts: Three County Fair (1818) in Northampton and the Topsfield Fair (1818) in Topsfield
  • New Hampshire: Lancaster Fair (1871) in Lancaster
  • Rhode Island: Eastern Rhode Island 4-H County Fair (1968) in Portsmouth
  • Vermont: Bondville Fair (1797) in Bondville

The largest fair in New England is “The Big E” or Eastern States Exposition (1917) held annually in Springfield, MA. It is the defacto fair for the entire six-state region and all New England states are well represented.

Come to a fair to see cows, dogs, horses, pigs, sheep, pulling competitions, riding competitions, wood cutting and splitting, frying pan throwing, entertainment, and much, much more. Of course a big feature of most of these fairs is the midway. The midway is the part of the fair that features amusement rides, entertainment, and fast food.

Follow the links below to learn more about the agricultural and county fairs of New England:

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