Commissioner Scott Soares
Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Resources (DAR)
This Memorial Day Weekend, I’m excited to be partaking in one of my favorite New England spring-through-fall pastimes – going to Agricultural State Fairs! I’ll be headed to the Sheep and Woolcraft Fair in Cummington this Saturday (at Fairgrounds Road) for the kick-off of what is gearing up to be a great fairs season.
Did you know it was two Merino sheep that launched our Commonwealth’s rich and diverse history of fairs? In 1807, Massachusetts native Elkanah Watson decided to exhibit his animals at a public square in Pittsfield. A few years later, agricultural societies were established to sponsor and promote the state’s agricultural fairs of which DAR has been a big part.
Today, our agricultural fairs remain a favorite destination point for the more than 3 million residents and visitors each year.
The Commonwealth’s agricultural fairs feature highlights such as exhibits, livestock competitions and showings, farm-fresh food, and local crafts. Some fairs also have fireworks displays, tractor or pony rides, pig racing, and pie eating contests. There are also wine and beer making competitions, wood carving or cooking demonstrations, and concerts.
This year the American Automobile Association (AAA) has kindly partnered with us to also feature hard copies of our 2010 Fairs Brochure at their AAA clubs. Or, you can send an email request to receive a hard copy to Ellen.Hart@state.ma.us.
From fairs to farms to farmers’ markets, our Agri-Google map on our new MassGrown & Fresher website will connect you to all of your favorite agricultural destinations. www.mass.gov/massgrown
Whether you like the big fairs or the small community ones – I hope to see you there!