GUILFORD -- The 69th Annual Guilford Fair started off like the ones before it ...
"So far, it’s well-attended," said Fair President David Franklin around noon on Sunday, Sept. 1. "The weather’s held off. We had some new events this year like the ox pull and there are a few more animals."
In previous years, it’s only been held on the Monday of Labor Day. But since around 2000, the Guilford Fair has been a two-day event, beginning on the Sunday of the long weekend. Fair organizers have recently attempted to draw a bigger crowd for Sunday.
Franklin said the fair draws a lot of people because there are so many non-profit organizations that raise money through the fair each year. The Guilford Fire Department, the town library, the Guilford Community Church and several others were named off-hand.
"It’s also the social event of the year for the town," he added. "Everyone sees all their friends."
The fair takes thousands of hours to set up, Franklin said. It involves making booklets, organizing the events and setting up vendors as well as canopies in case of rain.
The gymkhana, which Franklin described as "reindeer games for horses," was new for 2013. Horseback riders were given different challenges in individual sessions throughout the morning and into the afternoon.
Jennifer Boyd, of West Dover, was in charge of running the event. She took over the horse shows for the fair three years ago.
There were over 30 participants for the gymkhana and Boyd was expecting around 30 people for the showmanship event on Monday.
"Hopefully, we’ll have more people next year," she said.
A spectator told her that she wants to purchase a horse just so she could participate in next year’s event.
One of the challenges of the gymkhana had required participants to hold a dollar between one of their legs and a side of their horse.
Ribbons were given out to the best riders from first to seventh place.
"I think it was a big hit," said Boyd. "I’m already looking forward to next year."
She told the Reformer that one memorable and humorous moment had been when one rider fell and went underneath his horse (neither horse nor rider were hurt).
Jersey and Holstein cattle from the Maple-MAK Farm in Vernon were kept in the Carleton Cattle Barn. One was a baby, named Journey, that was a little over a month old.
"My dad’s been coming (to this fair) since he was younger than me," said Megan King, 16, who stayed with the cattle.
Her family had just established the Maple-MAK Farm in the beginning of the year, she said.
King was looking forward to Monday, when the cattle shows take place. Judges look at the showmanship and how well the cattle are presented. She said fair organizers are anticipating around 30 other animals, or a barn full, to take part in the competition.
"The judge will look at the rib cage and legs and see how she looks as an animal," said King of her Holstein summer yearling that will be in the show.
Sheep, chickens, rabbits and various other animals also were on display for fair attendees to look at. A big rooster was held next to the rabbits. Throughout the day, there were sheep shearing demonstrations hosted by Fred DePaul, of Plymouth.
There was an ox pull happening throughout the day. The event had four different weight classes.
Fitch Exhibit Hall was dedicated to William Fitch, "who spent many years as superintendent of garden produce (and) also worked at the Grange bingo and served as auditor for the Guilford Fair. Bill is greatly missed," according to a sign in the barn.
Inside the hall were different arts and crafts projects that have won prizes in previous fairs. There were quilts, paintings and dolls in display cases.
Fitch’s son Dwight took over the role as superintendent after the elder man’s death.
The band Rise opened the day at the stage designated for music, followed by the Brattyln Brothers at noon then Patty Carpenter and the Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band ended the day.
Several rides and games were set up for children of all ages.