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Sandwich Fair returns with big crowds

The midway was back in action at the Sandwich Fairgrounds during Columbus Day Weekend. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
October 13, 2021
SANDWICH — The rides, food, exhibits, crafts, animals, and over 36,000 visitors were back for the 2021 Sandwich Fair.

The fair made a triumphant return this past weekend with high numbers after being canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. Fair president Dan Peaslee said around 36,000 people came through the gates over the weekend. He also said several vendors said it was the best year ever for them.

"I think it's been an excellent fair; everybody that's here is really, really happy," Peaslee said.

The weather has been perfect for the fair, with slightly cloudy skies and fair weather into the 50's and 60's.

Planning for this year's fair did have some uncertain moments.

"We didn't know for sure 30 days before the fair, we were watching and seeing what people were doing," Peaslee said.

At the same time, they had a hard time getting volunteers and the Sandwich Police didn't have that many officers. The issues were addressed, and they will be looking at addressing more further while planning for 2022.

Three weeks before they fair, they still realized they had a lot of work to do before the event started. Peaslee said the Fair Association and all the volunteers pulled together and got things done.

"It's a relief to be back," Peaslee said. "The people are so happy; the crowd is big. I think that's what every other fair has had: they've had really good attendance this year."

The association has done several different projects on the fairgrounds, including moving the first aid building, renovating the fair office, building a new 4-H cook shack, building a new pole barn for the cattle show, and others. Peaslee said a few more projects are still in the works, including completing the cook shack and getting another quarter of the water system done.

The fair featured many different animal competitions with everything from bunnies to steers.

Gail Roberts of West Fairlee, Vt., walked in the parade with her oxen Rouge and Blanc. To take part in the costume contest, the oxen wore tutus and Roberts led them while dressed as a nutcracker.

Rouge and Blanc are 12 and 13-weeks-old, Roberts started training them since she got them. She said they will work on different skills such as working with a cart and scoot.

She said they go to about six fairs a year.

"I love the Sandwich Fair, it's my favorite fair," Roberts said.

Roberts said it was great to be back.

"Last year stunk; no fairs," she said.

Charlotte Dill of Deerfield showed sheep as part of the Woolmark Shepherds of Strafford County 4-H. She sheared a few sheep on Sunday, including a sheep named Harold.

"It's only a second time being shorn, so he was still a little antsy about that," Dill said.

She was shearing sheep for a competition on Monday, as the breed she was showing was a meat breed and the judges needed to see their muscle structure.

She has been working with sheep for four years and has come to the Sandwich Fair for three years.

"This is one of my favorite fairs because I know a lot of people here," she said,

The fair was also a place for many different to sell their creations in the Craft Building and other places.

In the Craft Building, Kim Welch of Gilford sold soy candles through her company Ol' Factory Scents. The company is all done at home from the 100 percent soy wax melt candles to the label design and printing. She has been making the candles since 2008.

"I was dissatisfied with the candles I had been purchasing," Welch said.

She does around 25 to 30 fairs a year. After a year down because of the pandemic, she said it felt great to be back.

Farms from across New England sold their products in the Farmer's Market.

McCormack's Farm of Gilmanton sold different honeys and wax products. They also brought a panel of bees with them and showed them in an observation hive.

Karen McCormack said they have been producing honey for about 10 years. In addition to their hive in Gilmanton, they also have hives in Canterbury, Alton, Loudon, and other places. They produce bottled honey, wax, lip balm, honey sticks, candy and more.

McCormack's Farm started selling at the fair in 2018 after taking over for Ben Chadwick of Spring Fever Farm, who she said is their mentor.

"He's an amazing beekeeper," McCormack said.

When asked about being back to the fair, she answered, "Thank goodness."

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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