I love autumn in New England. A tradition that I have never been able to pass up is a fall harvest fair! I love the animals, the food, the crafts, and all the competitions for biggest pumpkin, best photo, best floral arrangement, prize jersey cow, etc. I grew up in MA going to the Topsfield Fair every year, then in college out in Worcester I learned about the amazing Big E in Springfield. This year with my move to NH, we stayed local and headed to the Deerfield Fair.
The fair has been running for 140 years, it is the oldest running fair in New England. We went on Saturday morning and the crowds were small due to the subpar weather. It was a little rainy/windy but I was ok in my Sperry rain boots and Barbour jacket.
So first up, the food!!! I had apple crisp, hot apple cider, and apple cider donuts. There were mini apple cider donuts and normal sized ones. I also had some ice cream thanks to the Granite State Dairy Promotion folks!
The animals are awesome at the fair. There are oxen, dairy & beef cows, sheep, pigs, draft horses, and show horses. There is also a little petting zoo with goats, alpacas, and a camel! The oxen participate in an oxen pulling competition. They work together as a pair and are trained from a young age- conditioning, strength, and obedience to their trainer. It was really cool to watch. I read articles accusing this event of being cruel to the oxen, but I saw a lot of love between the handlers and their animals and really amazing training shining through this Herculean task. There is a pretty constant flow of horse events going on throughout the day from huntseat to saddlebred pleasure to lead line classes.
The agricultural exhibits and competitions are awesome. The state record was set for the giant pumpkin with 2066 lbs!!!! I loved all the farm displays. My favorite depicted a scene from The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It was perfect. I also loved trying all the free samples- from cheese at the Yankee Cheeseman to maple roasted cashews at the Maple House thanks to the NH Maple Producers Association.
We got some chicken tenders from Krisi’s Chicken Tenders and some french fries made right there with fresh potatoes for lunch. Everything was so good and fresh. I think its safe to say I definitely ate too much, but I left full and happy.