The Guilford Fair: Animals, music, food … oh my!

Friday, September 19, 2008 12:02 PM EDT
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

GUILFORD — Cattle, goats, horses, circus performers, singers and even elephants are all scheduled to make an appearance at the Guilford Fairgrounds this weekend.

The annual Guilford Fair returns starting today to the fairgrounds on Lovers Lane. The fair, which has been running since 1859, features farming contests like tractor pulls and animal judging, as well as carnival rides and circus shows every day.

The parade, which kicks off Saturday’s events, starts at 10 a.m. and its theme this year is “The Wild West.”

At nearly 150 years old, the fair is the second oldest in Connecticut and is put on by the Guilford Agricultural Society. It traditionally takes place the third weekend of September, rain or shine.

Nancy Maturo, the vice president of the Agricultural Society, says the group has been working for several weeks to prepare the fairgrounds.

“We’ve got some new food here, and we’ve got a very big petting zoo, and we’ve got wonderful entertainment,” Maturo says. “You get an awful lot for your money.”

The fair maintains its agricultural roots with a wide variety of farm-based competitions. Hundreds of items will be entered for judging in categories like baking, quilting, canned goods, jams and jellies, flower arrangements, knitting and sewing. There are also animal competitions for dairy and beef cattle, horses, draft oxen, goats, sheep, swine, poultry, rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals, as well as prizes for dozens of different types of vegetables and fruits.

Entries for the competitions closed last week.

Maturo says that many departments reported an increase in entries this year.

“Tents will be bulging with entries,” she says. “We draw people from all over the country for this fair, from California, Massachusetts, all up and down New England.”

Andy Griggs, The Spectacles and Chad Burdick make up the musical entertainment at the fair.

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