Continuing traditions at the Topsfield Fair — Gallery

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On an overcast Monday afternoon at the Topsfield Fair, crowds swarmed the fields admiring animals, playing carnival games and eating funnel cake topped with powdered sugar. Also marking senior citizen’s day, older guests were greeted with sunflowers, brightening up a gray day.

The annual fall fair north of Boston began in 1818, making it one of America’s oldest harvest-time celebrations. This year it runs through Oct. 12. The fair showcases a little bit of everything, from carnival rides (a Ferris wheel included), games and musical performances to traditional livestock exhibitions, rabbit and cavy displays, crafts, horse pulling contests, pig races and dog shows.

“The younger kids remember the animals and they like to come back to see that,” said Dana Cummings as he watched alpacas roam the grass-filled animal pen. “My son and daughter-in-law brought my grandson this past weekend and they had a great time.”

Jim Shalkoksy, who was visiting the fair with his girlfriend, complained that there used to be a kangaroo too, but not anymore.

“A lot of the stuff is the same,” Shalkoksy said. “It’s more of the tradition and making sure everything is the same, otherwise you will have disappointed people.”

His girlfriend, Jen Osgood, who has attended the fair since she was 2-years-old, said the increase in food vendors caught her eye. And that she was looking forward to “the turkey legs.”

Also admiring the alpacas as they roamed the small pen was Meaghan Schaffer, who said she began coming to the event as a child. She was most excited to see the animals and the giant pumpkin, which weighed in at 1982.5 lbs. this year – not a record, but close.

“It has stayed a lot the same,” Schaffer said, “which is really nice.”

Coming out of the goat exhibit, Tony and Mary Anne Spartos were checking the map to see where they could find the exhibit of hand-crafted furniture.

“It’s a nice way to spend the afternoon, if you don’t have anything else to do,” Mrs. Spartos said, to which Mr. Spartos added, “or even if you do.”

Contact Beth Treffeisen at [email protected] or @beth_treffeisen