HARDWICK – The Hardwick Community Fair will be celebrating its 248th year on Aug. 20 and 21.
Featuring crop judging, a lumberjack chain- and hand-saw contest, a tractor show, a frog race for the kids and much more, fair organizers are expecting a delightful and entertaining two-day run this year, according to Emily M. Bancroft, publicity chair.
As always, there will be an emphasis, Bancroft said, on keeping it community oriented.
“I have been a resident all my life and have gone to this fair since I was itty bitty,” she said. “It hasn’t changed too much. We’ve added a few things like cattle, but most importantly, the atmosphere hasn’t changed. It is just a nice small agricultural fair where everyone is welcome to come and have a good time.”
This year the fair is being dedicated to Carl Dewey Sr., said Audrey L. Mazeika, director of administration and fair secretary.
“Carl is a man like no oth- er,” Mazeika said. “For (approximately) the last 50 years Carl has served this community and the fair in a variety of ways. For years he has been our committee chair person for field crops, and his knowledge of the farming and dairy industry has made him the foremost person to go to for advice in the region.”
The committee chair person judges and appoints other judges to examine a variety of crops, Mazeika said. This includes bales of hay, hay silage and corn.
“Carl exemplifies service to the community, and his fair judgment and skills are above reproach,” said Fay Butler, president of the fair committee. “The Hardwick Fair is bragging rights for the year. It is an important community element where pride in ones placing in the agricultural competitions is something to be remembered for years. Carl’s knowledge of the field truly only allows the best to win.”
Due to health reasons Dewey is retiring this year, Butler said.
“Carl is such a hard worker and dedicated to this fair that he even found his own replacement!” Butler said. “His work for the community is why the fair this year is being dedicated to him.”
Originating in 1762, the Hardwick Fair is the oldest fair in the United States, Mazeika said. The farming and dairy industry is in the towns’ blood.
In the past 20 years the number of farms in Hardwick has decreased from 19 to about 10, Mazeika said. The agricultural aspect of the fair helps keep the spirit and pride in ones work alive.
“It is so difficult for the local farmers to earn a living compared to the major farming corporations,” Mazeika said. “Somehow, we hope to keep the knowledge and pride alive in our communities by keeping the fair traditional and showing people what we can produce here at home.”
Crafts, cattle and crops are being shown for judging, Bancroft said. Booths will feature a variety of locally produced products, and food will be plentiful.
“We really just want people to come on down and have a good time,” Bancroft said. “That is what our fair is about!”
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