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Sandwich Fair draws strong numbers



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The Sandwich's Fair's newest ride, the Swing Carousel. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
October 10, 2018
SANDWICH — Good weather meant a good year at the 108th annual Sandwich Fair with a weekend of events and activities for the more than 30,000 people who attended.

The state's last agricultural fair of the season ran Saturday through Monday with a special Midway Preview on Friday night.

A weekend of good weather spelled higher numbers for this year's fair. Sandwich Fair Association president Dan Peaslee said this year, the fair had 30,000 paid attendants, which was up 8,000 from last year. While last year saw torrential rain for a good part of the weekend, this year the weather mostly cooperated aside from some drizzle on Monday. Peaslee said overall, the weather conditions were conducive to fairs. Monday's weather was a bit colder and Peaslee said since the show buildings are heated a lot of people came in to warm up.

Peaslee said the fair went really smoothly, and events like the parade and others went as planned.

This year saw the return of the lawnmower pulls, which has been gone for a few years.

On the midway the fair's longtime ride partner Gillette Shows introduced the Swing Carousel, a new ride they brought in from Italy.

All the fairgrounds' different buildings, barns, and rings were busy all weekend.

In the Craft Building, Brian O'Hare of Rumney was one of many crafters selling his creations and he demonstrated how he creates pottery pieces for his company Ripple Pottery.

"I make a lot of functional things that people use every day: functional art," O'Hare said.

He has been doing pottery for 25 years and has been at the fair for 12. He said the fair holds true for its agricultural theme and is real and not commercial.

He said he also sees a lot of people he knows, from visitors to the gallery to people he went to school with.

"It's like a reunion," O'Hare said.

In the Farmer's Market, McCormack's Farm of Gilmanton sold their honey products at the fair for the first time. Jeff and Karen McCormack keep bees and make a variety of items from their honey from jarred honey to soap and more.

Jeff McCormack said they started two years ago with two beehives and it "just exploded from there." Through the learning process Jeff said it was greatly beneficial to meet with other beekeepers who helped them out.

"It's hard work, but we really enjoy it," Karen said. "Every year, we meet people and learn more."

They got their slot at the market from Ben Chadwick, who sold bee products there for eight years. Jeff said Chadwick, who has been one of their mentors, asked if they wanted his spot. Jeff said Chadwick has been a strong source of support for them.

At 3:45 p.m., entries in the Baked Goods department were auctioned off. Justin Chapman took the role of auctioneer for another year, taking bids for each of the items. Proceeds will go to two area food pantries.

Baked Goods Committee chair Sally Johnston said they had a good mix of entries from people of all ages. Entries were judged based on consistency, flavor, presentation, texture, and other criteria. A panel of eight to nine judges will review and sample the entries on Friday night before the fair.

Bakers could decide if they wanted to submit their goodies for the auction and Johnston said most did.

Rows of photos in several different categories were on display in the Hodge Exhibit Building.

Elementary school students, high school students, and adults have their own divisions and there is a number of different categories depending on the subject of the photos.

Photography chair Nancy-Jane Duncan said they encourage all people to submit their photos and the category is open until 7 p.m. on Friday night.

Duncan said the many different categories set the Sandwich Fair's photography competition apart from other fairs.

This is the 40th year Duncan has chaired the Photography Committee. Duncan said she used to enter photos in the fair; in 1977, she was asked to chair the committee and has done so every year after that.

"I love running it; I love meeting people," Duncan said.

Duncan said they have a lot of wonderful people who help set up every year.

In the end Peaslee said the fair wouldn't be possible without the work of all of its volunteers and the board of directors greatly appreciates their efforts.

"As always we thank all our many many many volunteers," Peaslee said. "We couldn't make the fair work without them."

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