Letter from the President
When I was first asked about the theme of this year’s Fair and Parade I was sitting on a mower in the middle of the fairgrounds. “Celebrating the wonders of Guilford,” I heard. Those of you who know me might guess my reaction. “Well, look around.”
The Guilford Fair and its producers, The Guilford Agricultural Society, have worked to keep agriculture and aquaculture alive in Guilford since 1859. I think we can all agree that this is quite a wonder in and of itself.
The Fair was founded just before the Civil War when “most of the town’s 3,000 inhabitants practiced subsistence farming.” It was held on the Guilford Town Green back then and for decades afterwards. But by 1969, we’d outgrown the 8-acre Green. The Guilford Agricultural Society purchased and relocated to the 30-acre Hunter Farm off Lovers Lane, where we are today. The property itself is another “wonder.”
I was just a kid when the current Lovers Lane property was purchased but generations of my family, neighbors and friends have been involved to preserve and maintain this Fair and property. I constantly hear people say, “I grew up going to the Guilford Fair.” I remember bringing my eggs and Lucy my goat to the Fair when it was still on the Green. I also started competing in the horse pull on the Green when I was 13.
It’s an all-volunteer labor of love, for sure, and remains privately-owned, managed and cared for by the Ag Society to this day.
Today, farmers are still celebrated by the Guilford Agricultural Society and the Fair is still our primary venue to put agriculture on display. Over the years, some buildings were added including two new ones just this year. I hope everyone makes an effort to come by to see our improvements!
Another “wonder” is how large the Fair has grown. From the animals to the entries of handcrafts, vegetables, flowers, baking, collections, art, and photography, to shows, competitions, events, rides, bands, a spelling bee, a circus and more. There really is something for every age to enjoy.
Yes, as we celebrate the wonders of Guilford, please be sure to include the Guilford Fair in your plans. Exhibit, volunteer, or simply come to soak it all in. We look forward to seeing you again this year.
— John Hammarlund, President