As summer winds down and turns to fall, fairs of all shapes and sizes get under way all across Connecticut. Here are the five best CT fairs to visit this fall.
By Joe Bills
Aug 24 2017
Durham Fair in Connecticut | 12 New England Fairs to Visit This FallPhoto Credit : Photo by Peter Gene / CC BY-SA
As summer winds down and turns to fall, fairs of all shapes and sizes get under way all across Connecticut. No matter what part of the state you’re in, you’ll probably find an excellent fair nearby. Each one has its merits, so the choices here were hard — that said, here are our picks for the five best CT fairs to visit this fall.
The first Durham Fair, in 1916, attracted approximately 2,000 people. These days, it draws as many as 200,000, more than any other Connecticut fair. This annual tradition during the last weekend of September merges traditional harvest festivities, pulling contests, and livestock competitions with a carnival midway, a local wine festival, and a lumberjack show, along with performers on four stages.
This granddaddy of Connecticut fairs got its start in 1809, making it one of a handful of events that can make a claim on the heavily disputed title of being oldest continually active fair in the U.S. Held each year during the last weekend of August, it features all of the draft horses, garden exhibits, and livestock shows you’d expect from an old-time fair, along with carnival rides, midway booths, and an entertainment lineup of more than a dozen bands on two stages.
Started as a cattle competition between area school districts in the 1830s, the Four Town Fair has grown up over the years. Livestock is still represented at this four-day, mid-September event, of course, and there’s a horse show, a classic-car show, and live music, too. But it’s the dozens of contests that sets this fair apart. From the women’s skillet throw and the corn eating competition to the heaviest pumpkin and frog jumping contests, you’ll be laughing and cheering in equal measure.
This Labor Day weekend tradition has been going strong for more than a century. Marvel at the giant pumpkins, cheer for your favorites in the woodcutting competition, ooh and ahh at the fireworks display, and maybe even test your limits in the pie eating competition. With a full lineup of music and comedy onstage, truck pulls, monster truck competitions, a draft horse show, and even an adult spelling bee, there’s something here for everyone.
Since 1859, this mid-September tradition has been doing things its own way. Combining elements of a traditional fair with stage spectacle and circus performance, this show is unique in the best sense of the word. Cattle and horses and pigs are represented here, but so are lions and tigers. There are illusionists and trapeze acts side by side with antique tractor pulls and a donkey and mule show. Check out the Woodruff Barn Farm Museum while you’re there, too.
If you can’t make it to one of these great fairs, don’t worry: There are plenty of other great events to choose from. Five more we particularly like are the Berlin Fair, theHaddam Neck Fair, the Hebron Harvest Fair, theWolcott Country Fair, and theWoodstock Fair. For a listing of these and many more CT fairs, visit the Association of Connecticut Fairs website.
What are your favorite CT fairs?