Monday, September 4, 2023

The 6 Best Fall Agricultural Fairs to Visit in New England: A Harvest of Fun and Tradition

Autumn in New England is a magical season. The vibrant foliage, crisp air, and the scent of apple cider in the breeze make it a favorite time of year for locals and visitors alike. One cherished tradition that embodies the spirit of fall in this region is attending a fall agricultural fair. These fairs celebrate the bounty of the harvest, showcase the rich agricultural heritage of New England, and provide an opportunity for family-friendly entertainment.

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a virtual tour of the best fall agricultural fairs to visit in New England. Whether you're a fan of mouthwatering food, live entertainment, carnival rides, or simply want to immerse yourself in the culture and history of the region, you'll find something to love at these fairs. Get ready to plan your autumn adventures as we explore the top agricultural fairs in New England!

1. The Big E - Eastern States Exposition

Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts

Dates: Late September to early October

Our journey through the best fall agricultural fairs in New England begins with a bang at the Eastern States Exposition, lovingly known as "The Big E." This fair is a colossal celebration of all things New England, attracting over a million visitors annually. What makes it so special is the unique blend of agriculture, entertainment, and regional pride.

Agricultural Delights: The Big E showcases the region's finest livestock, crops, and produce. You can witness awe-inspiring competitions, from giant pumpkin weigh-offs to thrilling rodeos.

Food Extravaganza: Don't miss the chance to indulge in iconic New England delicacies like cream puffs, cider donuts, and clam chowder. The Avenue of States offers a culinary journey through each New England state's specialties.

Entertainment Galore: Enjoy live concerts, circus performances, and parades. The Midway offers thrilling rides and games for the entire family.

2. The Fryeburg Fair

Location: Fryeburg, Maine

Dates: Early October

Head north to Maine for the Fryeburg Fair, one of the oldest agricultural fairs in the United States. Nestled in the picturesque White Mountains, this fair is a treasure trove of rural charm and autumnal beauty.

Animal Kingdom: Get up close and personal with farm animals at the livestock exhibits. The horse-pulling contests are a must-see.

Arts and Crafts: Explore the extensive arts and crafts exhibits featuring talented local artisans.

Agrarian Traditions: Witness the time-honored agricultural practices that have sustained this region for centuries, from butter churning to apple cider pressing.

3. The Topsfield Fair

Location: Topsfield, Massachusetts

Dates: Late September to early October

Located just north of Boston, the Topsfield Fair is a New England classic that's been delighting fairgoers since 1818. It's renowned for its diverse attractions and rich agricultural heritage.

Agricultural Excellence: Marvel at the prized farm animals, giant pumpkins, and colorful floral displays. The Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off is a highlight.

Foodie Paradise: Sample delectable treats like fried dough, maple cotton candy, and classic New England clam rolls.

Entertainment for All Ages: From live music and magic shows to thrilling rides and games, there's something for everyone.

4. The Durham Fair

Location: Durham, Connecticut

Dates: Late September

The Durham Fair is Connecticut's largest agricultural fair, drawing visitors from across the state and beyond. Nestled in the charming town of Durham, this fair captures the essence of a quintessential New England fall.

Livestock Excellence: Admire the finest cattle, sheep, and poultry in the region. The 4-H exhibits showcase the talent of local youth.

Taste of New England: Savor classic fair fare, from corn dogs to apple pies. The culinary competitions are a true highlight.

Family Fun: Enjoy carnival rides, midway games, and live entertainment for all ages.

5. The Vermont State Fair

Location: Rutland, Vermont

Dates: Early September

Vermont is famous for its stunning landscapes and artisanal products, and the Vermont State Fair reflects these qualities. It's a celebration of both rural life and Vermont's unique culture.

Rural Charm: Explore the agricultural exhibits and witness the grace of draft horses and oxen. The maple syrup demonstrations are a sweet bonus.

Local Flavors: Taste Vermont's finest cheeses, craft beers, and maple treats. The agricultural products here are second to none.

Live Music: Enjoy live performances by local bands and musicians. Vermont's vibrant music scene is on full display.

6. The Cumberland Fair

Location: Cumberland, Maine

Dates: Late September to early October

Our journey concludes in picturesque Cumberland, Maine, at the Cumberland Fair. This fair boasts a warm, small-town feel and offers a fantastic way to bid farewell to the fall season.

Agricultural Showcases: From dairy cows to poultry, the livestock exhibits are top-notch. You can also catch the famous pig scrambles.

Culinary Delights: Satisfy your taste buds with Maine's finest lobster rolls, whoopie pies, and more.

Exciting Rides: The fair's midway is filled with exhilarating rides and games, making it a perfect family outing.

BONUS: Here are some additional popular agricultural fairs in the region:

The Three County Fair

Location: Northampton, Massachusetts

Dates: Early September

The Three County Fair is one of Massachusetts' oldest fairs, founded in 1818. It offers a blend of agriculture, entertainment, and local culture, making it a cherished event in the Pioneer Valley.

Agricultural Displays: Marvel at the livestock, agricultural exhibits, and horse shows.

Entertainment: Enjoy live music, demolition derbies, and a wide variety of fair food.

The Tunbridge World's Fair

Location: Tunbridge, Vermont

Dates: Early October

Vermont's Tunbridge World's Fair is a quintessential New England experience. With its rich history dating back to 1867, it's known for its agricultural showcases and country charm.

Livestock Competitions: Witness impressive oxen pulls, horse shows, and cattle exhibitions.

Heritage Village: Explore the fair's heritage village to get a taste of life in rural Vermont.

Blue Ribbon Baking: Sample delicious pies and other baked goods at the fair's famous baking contests.

The Deerfield Fair

Location: Deerfield, New Hampshire

Dates: Late September to early October

The Deerfield Fair is New Hampshire's oldest family fair, and it continues to delight visitors with its mix of traditions and modern attractions.

4-H Exhibits: See the talents of local youth in 4-H competitions and demonstrations.

Antique Tractors: Antique farm equipment enthusiasts will appreciate the tractor displays.

Live Entertainment: Enjoy live music, pig scrambles, and thrilling carnival rides.

The Marshfield Fair

Location: Marshfield, Massachusetts

Dates: Late August to early September

Located on the South Shore of Massachusetts, the Marshfield Fair is a late summer fair that's been a staple of the community since 1867.

Agricultural Excellence: Explore the livestock barns and agricultural displays.

Cultural Exhibits: Discover the rich history and culture of the South Shore through various exhibits.

Family-Friendly Fun: From carnival games to live entertainment, there's plenty for families to enjoy.

The Rochester Fair

Location: Rochester, New Hampshire

Dates: Late September

The Rochester Fair is another gem in New Hampshire, offering a mix of agriculture, entertainment, and community spirit.

Livestock Shows: Admire the farm animals and livestock showcased at the fair.

Midway Attractions: Enjoy carnival rides, games, and classic fair food.

Concerts and Entertainment: Catch live concerts and performances throughout the fair's duration.

The Litchfield Fair

Location: Litchfield, Maine

Dates: Early October

The Litchfield Fair is a small-town fair in Maine that captures the essence of rural life and the agricultural traditions of the region.

Agricultural Competitions: Watch skilled competitors in various agricultural events.

Food and Crafts: Explore the local food vendors and craft exhibits.

Carnival Fun: Experience the rides and games on the midway.

As you can see, New England's fall agricultural fairs offer a diverse array of experiences that cater to every interest. Whether you're a devoted foodie, an agriculture enthusiast, or simply seeking a fun day out with family and friends, these fairs have something for everyone. Plan your visit to one or more of these fairs this autumn, and savor the unique charm of New England's fall season.

Remember to check the specific dates, admission fees, and any COVID-19 safety measures before you go. New England's fall fairs are a true celebration of tradition, community, and the beauty of the season, making them an experience you won't want to miss.