A Bit Of History
The fair started out as an agricultural event that local farmers hoped would turn into an annual market day where they could trade and sell their cattle. In 1886, area farmers exhibited 184 yoke of oxen at the fair.
In August of 1887 it was decided that the fair would be held on October 11th and that a band would be hired and a baby contest considered. Judges were appointed for the various categories and a prize list was announced. The fair was held as planned with 3,000 - 4,000 in attendance.
During the summer of 1888 a plan for a fair in October was formulated. A committee to nominate a slate of permanent officers was appointed and J. Edwin Beede was elected president. Fancy work, curiosities and antiques, flowers and plants were again shown in the G.A.R. hall. A baby contest for the pretties, heaviest and best dressed (under the age of two) was planned. For the first time there was a printed program of events. That year the weather was miserable with snow and only a small number of people attended.
A 1893 report from the “Sandwich Reporter” states regretfully that all the prizes in the baby show which was held in Mrs. A.E.R. Beede’s hall were won by Moultonboro babies. It was also reported that the traffic was heavy and that Wilfred Plummer was run over by a horse driven by Eugene Wright and suffered a fractured arm. It was estimated that 3,000 people attended the fair and very little drunkenness was reported and all of those drunk were from out of town. At the 1894 fair, one of the unusual exhibits recorded for display was a large American Eagle and the foxed; shown by Dr. J. Alonao Greene of Roxmount Poultry Farm.
Another account published in 1924 announced that one of the main attractions of the upcoming fair was to be a coon hunt. As there was no other information published about this event it is speculated that it was apparently so well known it didn’t need further explanation. It is wondered however if raccoons were actually released on the fairgrounds or if the participants headed to the nearby woods in search of them..............
Sunday, October 12, 1986 was a delightful sunny day, and as always the parade was much enjoyed. Monday was cloudy, but the rain held off until late afternoon. This year there was an all new midway, and the stage shows featured bluegrass and popular music from the 1950’s and 60’s. Poultry from local breeders were shown, but out of state poultry was still banned. Due to a poor growing season and early frosts there was a scarcity of fresh flowers at the flower show.
It was a nasty, cold Sunday in 1987, but the parade went on despite snow, sleet and mist. A new horse pulling ring and horse logging area were constructed and the old ring was used for judging dairy and beef cattle. There were less canned foods than in previous years; freezing has become more popular. David Dodson, a singer, songwriter from Maine performed on the stage.
The first three-day Fair was held on October 8, 9, and 10 1988. Good weather held for all three days. Stuart Heard led the parade on Horseback, and a group of riders on antique bicycles were part of the parade also. A new cover had been put over the stage, paid for by a concert held in August. There were five stage shows, all musical. A new single horse or mule twitching area had been constructed. There were cow-pie pitching contests (using a manure fork) and wood pitching contests. Thirty-two categories of cooked (baked) food were on display, and last year’s prize winning recipes were posted.
More to come -------
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