Historic Topsfield Fair begins 197th edition Friday

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2015/09/30/historic-topsfield-fair-begins-191st-edition-friday/

Friday marks the beginning of one of the most historic country fairs in the U.S., when the Topsfield Fair opens its gates for the 197th time. Fair goers can enjoy activities ranging from monster truck shows to concerts and traditional agricultural competitions, such as the All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off.

The Topsfield Fair began with a cattle show in 1818 organized by the Essex Agricultural Society. The group had recently formed to promote and improve the needs of farmers in Essex County. The society’s president, Timothy Pickering, won first prize for the “superior performance of his plough.”

Photo courtesy of Topsfield Fair

Photo courtesy of Topsfield Fair

Now, almost 200 years later, the fair’s website says goal is much the same: “to encourage, promote and preserve Essex County agricultural actives and to educate the general public regarding their importance in an atmosphere of fun and excitement through the medium of Topsfield Fair.”

The 10-day event about 25 miles north of Boston attracts almost 500,000 visitors each year. It showcases a little bit of everything, from carnival rides, games and musical performances to traditional livestock exhibitions, rabbit and cavy displays, crafts, horse pulling contests, pig races and dog shows.

The fair’s popular pumpkin contest kicks off the events at 4 p.m. Friday in the arena. The current record holder weighed in at just over a ton, at 2,009 lbs.

This year, special attractions include monster truck shows at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, as well as the first Youtube Music Festival, with Matthew Espinosa, and an acoustic performance by rocker Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo, both on Oct 10. Grandstand performers include country music star Clint Black and a group called the Axe Women Loggers of Maine.

Photo courtesy of Topsfield Fair

Photo courtesy of Topsfield Fair

Tickets are available online and at the door, with discounts for pre-fair purchases. General admission week days costs $11 and $15 on weekends. Special events tickets are sold separately. There is discounted admission, $8, for those 60 and over on Oct. 5 and active-duty military members and their families can get in free on Oct. 6. Parking is available on-site, but make sure to get there early.

For more information please visit our events page.

207 Boston Street, Topsfield

There is no public transportation available.

From Points South:
Take Route 95 North to Exit 50. Follow Route 1 north to the fairgrounds on the right.

From Points North:
Take Route 95 South to Exit 53. Follow Route 97 south to Route 1. Follow Route 1 south to Fairgrounds on the left.

Oct. 2 gates open at 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 3 -12 gates open at 10:00 a.m.

A prior version of this story reflected a different annual edition