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Oldest fair in the UK celebrates its 199th year in Essex

The oldest fair in the country is celebrating its 199th year this week in Topsfield, Massachusetts.  

Founded in 1818, the Topsfield Fair began as the Essex Agricultural Society Cattle Show to showcase the agriculture across the county.

The location of Topsfield was chosen because it was the most central point in Essex County, making it most convenient for stagecoach travel. The town has a population of just over six thousand people and comes to life during the annual fair. 

Wendy Cameron trims the fleece off her sheep in preparation to show her at the 199th Topsfield Fair on Friday 

Charlie Pickering, 85, stands in front of his lifelong collection of toy farm equipment. The Topsfield Fair is the oldest in the United States and was founded in 1818

Charlie Pickering, 85, stands in front of his lifelong collection of toy farm equipment. The Topsfield Fair is the oldest in the United States and was founded in 1818

The winning pumpkin from Woody Lancaster, 71 of Topsfield, weighing 2003.5 pounds. It is the first pumpkin recorded weighing one ton 

The winning pumpkin from Woody Lancaster, 71 of Topsfield, weighing 2003.5 pounds. It is the first pumpkin recorded weighing one ton 

New England Pumpkin Growers Association's Giant Pumpkin Competition winner Woody Lancaster, 71, of Topsfield, is lifted into the air by his son Alan, 29, as part of a victory celebration

New England Pumpkin Growers Association’s Giant Pumpkin Competition winner Woody Lancaster, 71, of Topsfield, is lifted into the air by his son Alan, 29, as part of a victory celebration

Courtney Howarth, 17, washes her cow with her fellow Essex Tech High School classmates to prepare it for competition

Courtney Howarth, 17, washes her cow with her fellow Essex Tech High School classmates to prepare it for competition

Children scream and laugh on a thrill ride at the 199th Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts

Children scream and laugh on a thrill ride at the 199th Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts

Camo, a two year old dog, catches his toy before splashing into the pool of water during the Dock Dogs Big Air Show

Camo, a two year old dog, catches his toy before splashing into the pool of water during the Dock Dogs Big Air Show

The Topsfield Fair began as the Essex Agricultural Society Cattle Show to showcase the region's agriculture across the county

The Topsfield Fair began as the Essex Agricultural Society Cattle Show to showcase the region’s agriculture across the county

The fair later evolved to have more rides and food than just a cattle show (fair pictured in 1976) 

The fair later evolved to have more rides and food than just a cattle show (fair pictured in 1976) 

This year, it is being held from September 29 to through October 9. Some of the events include Swifty Swine Racing where pigs race for the grand prize: an Oreo. 

It also features Moto Maniacs and a Monster Truck Freestyle rally. Plus, there is Dock Dogs is an aquatic competition where dogs do tricks in water.

Last year, attendance averaged 40,000 visitors per day with a grand total of almost half a million attendees total.

The fair has a variety of events including a giant pumpkin contest. This year a one-ton pumpkin took home the prize. Woody Lancaster, 71, won $6,500 for bringing in a 2,003.5lb pumpkin.

The pumpkin was short of the North American record holder of of 2,261lbs. 

Spectators take in the cattle judging at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Mass. on Oct. 6, 1981

Spectators take in the cattle judging at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Mass. on Oct. 6, 1981

ay Wessell and Timmy Flynn, 11, both of Danvers, Mass., carry their rabbit at the Topsfield fair 

ay Wessell and Timmy Flynn, 11, both of Danvers, Mass., carry their rabbit at the Topsfield fair 

Essex County Beekeepers member Bill Crocker shows off his hive to on lookers at the county's oldest fair 

Essex County Beekeepers member Bill Crocker shows off his hive to on lookers at the county’s oldest fair 

Midway worker Caleb Hileman looks on from his stand on the first day of the Topsfield Fair on Friday afternoon 

Midway worker Caleb Hileman looks on from his stand on the first day of the Topsfield Fair on Friday afternoon 

A vendor spins candy covered apples

Children pet a Netherland Dwarf rabbit

A vendor spins candy covered apples (left) and children pet a Netherland Dwarf rabbit during the Topsfield Fair (right)

Steve McNamara and Lori Kaestner look closely at flowers on display at the 199th Topsfield Fair in Topsfield

Steve McNamara and Lori Kaestner look closely at flowers on display at the 199th Topsfield Fair in Topsfield

Colored lights illuminate some of the rides during the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts

Colored lights illuminate some of the rides during the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts

 The first president of the society that started the fair was a Revolutionary War veteran and a 1763 Harvard graduate. Honorable Timothy Pickering also served as a US congressman. 

Pickering won the first ‘premium’ award for superior performance of his plough. 

The fair has been held every year with six exceptions, according to the website. It was not held during the Civil War for three years or during the Second World War for three years. 

The fair has been held on ground since 1910 in Topsfield.  

Families enjoy a chance to get close to clydesdale horses. The Topsfield Fair will celebrate its 200th anniversary next year 

Families enjoy a chance to get close to clydesdale horses. The Topsfield Fair will celebrate its 200th anniversary next year 

A competitor prepares her sheep for competition

A competitor prepares her sheep for competition

Children ride down a giant slide at the 199th Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts

Children ride down a giant slide at the 199th Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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