69th Guilford Fair happens this weekend


GUILFORD -- If you've already got a horse pull, why not add an ox pull, too?

That's the sentiment behind the latest addition to the Guilford Fair, which happens this Sunday and Monday at the Guilford Fairgrounds off Weatherhead Hollow Road.

The new ox pull is a featured event on Sunday morning. But organizers say attendees can expect all of the same attractions and events that draw thousands to the fair each year.

"We usually get about 2,500 to 3,000 on Sunday and 3,000 to 4,000 on Monday," said David Franklin, fair president.

The fair, now in its 69th year, was a one-day event until 2000. But there are now plenty of activities that fill two days on Labor Day weekend.

Though the fair does not officially kick off until Sunday morning, exhibit registration begins at Fitch Hall on Saturday at 10 a.m. That same afternoon, a talent showcase also is scheduled.

"We have some musicians and singers from 1 to 3. There's no charge," Franklin said. "Just come and put in your exhibits and enjoy the music."

The exhibit hall opens Sunday at 9 a.m., around the same time that the fair's gymkhana horse show begins, rain or shine. Franklin said the fair's horse events are popular and ran so long last year that some displays happened after dark.

"The last two events we had to do by headlights," he said. "But people wanted to finish it."

Rearranging the fair's horse pull provided inspiration to add the ox-pull event this year.

"That's new. Last year we moved the horse-pull event for better seating," Franklin said. "Since we went through all that time and expense, we thought we should use (the venue) both days."

Other events scheduled for Sunday include a sheep-shearing demonstration, bingo and a fire-department muster. Monday's lineup includes a horse show, cattle show and chainsaw artist.

Some events are common to both days, including an ice cream eating contest, chicken barbecue, children's bike raffle and performances by Brattleboro-based New England Center for Circus Arts.

"Those are very popular," Franklin said. "We have three shows each day."

An event added to the fair last year will continue this year, though it was inadvertently omitted from the official program: An antique-car show is scheduled for Sunday, and organizers are asking local residents to show up that morning with their classic cars.

Fair admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $2 for kids ages 6-12 and free for those 5 and under. Adults who show their ticket from Sunday can get in on Monday for $5.

Ticket prices have stayed level "for several years," Franklin said. "We're able to keep them that way because we have good sponsors."

The Guilford Fair Association is dedicating this year's event to Helen Marynuk, a lifelong Guilford resident, a fair supporter and an "amazing spirit" who died in April.

"We just wanted to honor her because she was such a great person," Franklin said.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.


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