Scroll > > >
History of The North Haverhill Fair Association
And credit to the people who have made it happen !
Titled "A LOOK BACK AT
THE NORTH HAVERHILL FAIR ASSOCIATION"
By The Fair History Committee
Debbie Bigelow, Dianne Ingalls, Linda Keith
The officers and directors of the 1994 North Haverhill Fair would like to dedicate this 50th Anniversary History of North Haverhill Fair to the countless volunteers who, over the years, have contributed untold hours of work toward making this fair run smoothly. These individuals have given in so many ways: helping in the pulling pits, preparing, cooking and serving food, selling tickets for the rides, selling admission tickets at the gate, judging entries in the parade and exhibit halls, chaperoning and supervising 4-H exhibitors, assisting with the horse shows, providing counsel, equipment, materials and/or transportation, and many, many other activities. This Fair could not exist without their help and continued dedication.
Although a handful of current and past volunteers are mentioned in the material that follows, we could never list all the people who have helped on this Fair for the past fifty years. Your support continues to make this Fair unique and viable. Therefore, we dedicate this history to our volunteers: we know we could never survive without you. Thank you.
This is the 50th Anniversary of the North Haverhill Fair. Fifty years is a remarkable milestone in almost any context. When it marks the continued, uninterrupted existence of a country fair which is managed and staffed solely by volunteer help, it is truly an achievement.
In this booklet, we have tried to capture some of the flavor of past fairs and give recognition to those volunteers who have made a significant contribution to the continuing success of this Fair. It is the dedication and commitment of numerous families and friends in the community working many hours each year which makes the Fair better. In reading through this history, you will notice that successive generations of many families -- grandparents, parents, and children -- have all worked together for a single purpose: to make the Fair a positive part of the community.
This collection of memories, stories, dates and assorted facts would not have been possible without the contributions of many people. We would like to thank Doris and Phillip Bellamy, Ed and Kay Blaisdell, Carrie Conery, MaryAnn Dellinger, Dick Fabrizio, Everett Sawyer and Lorree Stoddard for taking the time to share their memories with us. We would also like to recognize Max Robinson for the history which he wrote for the 25th Anniversary celebration; his work was the foundation for much of what follows. Thanks also to Isabelle Thayer who spent many hours pulling together the information on the Fair Queen Contest and to Dick McDanolds whose history of the tractor pulling and 4-H tractor event took weeks of research and work. Finally, our thanks to all of you who have dug through old boxes in your attic, basement or closets and found pictures or other information we have used to help pull this history together.
Although we have tried to make this history as complete as possible, it is inevitable that we have overlooked some things. We will also readily admit that we were unable to find some pieces of information. In addition, it is always possible that some of the things we believe we have accurately described are wrong. If in reading this history, you notice something you believe we have neglected or misstated, or if you have memories you would like to share, please let us know. We may be reached at: North Haverhill Fair Association, P.O. Box 207, North Haverhill, NH 03774.
1994 NORTH HAVERHILL FAIR ASSOCIATION
David Keith, President
Linda Stoddard, Secretary
Gerald Stoddard, Vice-President
Dianne Ingalls, Treasurer
Orman Red Thayer
CHRONOLOGY OF SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
1944 First Pink Granite Grange Fair held (one day fair).
1952 First 4-H Tractor Driving Contest.
Fair grew to two-day event (Monday and Tuesday).
1955 Moved to the VFW Field (behind the old James R. Morrill Elementary School, current Town Offices).
1956 Name changed to North Haverhill Fair Association (February, 1956).
First Tractor Pull.
1957 4-H dairy and livestock barn finished at the VFW Field.
Fair grew to three days (Sun/Mon/Tue).
1964 New Horse Show ring (behind Paul Mayettes house) was dedicated by Governor John King and used for the first time.
Pony Pulling held for the first time.
Fair days moved to Fri/Sat/Sun.
1969 25th Anniversary of North Haverhill Fair.
1976 Fair became a 4-day event (Thursday was "Pre-View Day").
1982 Moved to Fred C. Lee Memorial Field (current location).
Built Dairy Barn and Arts & Crafts Building.
1983 Built commercial building.
1986 Built building primarily for showing cattle, goat and other animals.
First 4x4 truck pull.
1990 Dedicated show arena to Kevin Kennedy.
1991 Dedicated Dairy Barn to Dick Rutherford.
Dedicated Arts & Crafts Building to Gerald Stoddard.
Built cover and enclosure for stage and pulling scales.
1992 Dedicated ticket booth at entrance gate to Arthur Clough.
1993 Dedicated stage to Orman Red Thayer.
1994 50th Anniversary!
In the late fall of 1943, the members of the Pink Granite Grange No. 210 began to develop a concept which would become the North Haverhill Fair. At that time, the 4-H clubs in North Haverhill were very active, with most members having dairy cattle or livestock to show. In prior years, club members had shown their animals against other clubs at Plymouth, Rochester and Lancaster fairs, often with little or no show experience. The Grange members thought that perhaps there was something they could do to give their local 4-H members a helping hand. Among the Grange members who worked to get the Fair off the ground were: Colin and Winnifred Cassady, Florence and Roland Clough, Dr. Frederick and Ellen Erb, Clark and Ernestine Ingalls, Max Robinson, Everett Sawyer, Carroll and Louise Stoddard, Frederick and Lorree Stoddard, Gerald and Priscilla Stoddard, Forest and Eva Thayer, and Orman Red and Isabelle Thayer. Frederick Stoddard was elected to be the first president of the Grange presiding over the Fair.
During the winter of 1943-44, Grange members contacted various businesses to donate prizes and worked closely with W. Ross Wilson (then Grafton County Agricultural Agent) to coordinate the schedule for the one-day fair. Lorree Stoddard, then Lecturer of the Grange, remembers that
Parke Patten gave a show halter. Other town businesses were generous, donating Mason Jars, Singer sewing machines, Simplicity patterns, gift certificates, jar rubbers, wax for sealing jelly jars (does anyone remember that?), sewing notions, garden seeds, calf feed, etc.
After much work, things came together. The Grange was able to rent the I.O.O.F. Hall (as it was then known - currently the VFW Hall), the Town Hall and the Village Improvement Society (VIS) Hall. These buildings, along with rented tents, provided ample room for exhibits, dances, meals and concessions. The tents housed the commercial exhibits and the 4-H cattle. In the VIS Hall were arts & crafts, and on the second floor of the I.O.O.F. Hall were 4-H exhibits. Meals were served downstairs in this building. The cattle were shown on the grounds between the I.O.O.F. Hall and the Town Hall. A "community auction" consisting of various objects donated by people involved in the fair helped towards expenses; George Clement served as
auctioneer. Grange members and others in the community exhibited their handiwork. A parade was held in the afternoon, and in the evening the Grange sponsored a supper and a social dance. By all accounts, that first Fair was a success -- even the weather was beautiful!
Since the first Fair was so well received, the Grange decided to continue. In due time, the Pink Granite Grange Association was able to rent the pasture in back of the VIS Hall owned by Mrs. Rintha Church Nutter. This field gave them room needed to hold all the cattle being shown, as well as a place to hold horse pulling events. In addition, large tents were rented to hold various concessions. Even then, getting ready for the Fair required a lot of work:
A few days before we were to set up tents in the pasture in back of the Village Hall, someone would take a wheel barrow and a dung fork and pick up the cow chips in readiness for the tents when they arrived from Boston. (Everett Sawyer)
Horse pulling quickly became a popular event, the tug of war was good for a few laughs, and commercial exhibits (like Max Robinson's fudge) were well received. Camp Walt Whitman, located on Route 25C (east of the Lake Tarleton Club) participated for several years at the fair by putting on a "Twilight Program" consisting of music and skits.
As the Fair grew, the one event which seemed the most popular, and drew the largest crowd, was the dance at the end of the day. This was a great social affair, with many homes in town pulling out cots, extra beds and sleeping bags for friends and relatives who were staying over to attend the dance in the Town Hall. Not only was this a fun evening, it also generated income for the Fair.
Although most records of the Pink Granite Grange Fair have been lost, everyone remembers it as being a successful, thriving event. Even then, however, the fair was not spared from the unpredictable New England August weather. Ed Blaisdell remembers
...the first year I was president of the Fair (1954), back when it was on Rintha Nutters field, there was a rain and wind storm that blew down two exhibit tents. The larger tent was rented from LaGasse Amusement Company and was covered by their insurance, but the smaller tent, from auctioneer George Clement, had no insurance. Of course, the most damage was to exhibits in the smaller tent, but the exhibitors all agreed to take their losses themselves, realizing that the fair didnt have the money to cover the damage.
Not surprisingly, most people who were involved with the Fair that year remember the wind gust. Max Robinson describes it this way:
I do remember one year just before opening day, an able-bodied southeaster flattened a tent, damaged the roof of the VIS Hall and raised havoc generally. Roofs were leaking on the exhibits and the newly acquired pasture, which happened to be of clay composition, was soon sticky mud. The tent company was called and before long the tent was raised again. The sun must have come out and the Fair went on in its usual manner. This was just one of the instances that helped to keep things interesting.
Even in those first few years of the Pink Granite Grange Fair, when the focus was primarily agricultural, most members believed that a fair was not complete without either a merry-go-round or a ferris wheel. Grange members also believed that it was just as important to have clean entertainment suitable for a family atmosphere. During the initial years in which amusement companies participated (and continuing today), they were carefully screened to ensure that only clean and safe entertainment was brought in to be a part of the Fair. Thus the Grange hired amusement companies to bring rides to the Fair, which was both a money-making activity for the Fair and helped to provide the right atmosphere. Similar to today, people remember that before the opening day of the Fair, it was a regular sight to see the brightly painted trucks towing rides, games and other forms of
During those first few years, the demands of running the Fair were similar to the issues the Fair Association faces today. For example, there was the constant question of financial resources. In the early days, the Fair held auctions, suppers, and charged admission to help generate income to pay for premiums and prizes awarded to participants. (Gate admission in 1949 was $.60!) In addition, an important source of funding was the State Government. Through the State Racing Commission, money was generated which was distributed to the members of the New Hampshire Fairs Association to subsidize the prize money given to 4-H (and other) exhibitors. Records from prior years note more than once that "this Fair could not survive without the Racing money." However, the State Government stopped supporting its fairs in 1980. Since that time, all prize money given to exhibitors at the Fair has come from the Association and area businesses.
During the late 1940s and early 1950s the Fair continued to grow, to the point that it was becoming too large for its existing location and was demanding increasingly more time of Grange members. Two significant events took place in the mid-50s which allowed the Fair to continue to grow. First, in 1955 the Fair moved to the VFW Field, behind the old James R. Morrill Elementary School (current Town Offices). This change in location was accompanied by a change in dates; the Fair moved from Monday and Tuesdays in mid-August to Friday, Saturday and Sunday in early August. This repositioning happened for two reasons: 1) Bradford and Plymouth Fairs changed their dates, thereby squeezing the North Haverhill Fair out of its usual dates; and 2) the VFW already had an annual horse show running in early August which combined nicely with the atmosphere of the Fair. The second significant event came in 1956 when the Fair changed its charter and name, to become the North Haverhill Fair Association. This change was made for several reasons, the most compelling of which was that Grange members had decided that for the Fair to continue, the Town must see it as a project for, and an asset of, the entire community. Changing the name of the Fair, adopting a new constitution, and involving non-Grange members accomplished this goal.
In its first year at the new grounds, the Fair showcased a new event -- tractor pulling. Using the sodless spot near the school swings, pullers had three tries to move the loaded stone boat six feet in the dirt. As Dick McDanolds tells it:
Four of the faithful drove tractors to Bradford Fair the previous week to get the hang of it. Willie Applebee (JD 40), Gerald Stoddard (JD 50), Dick McDanolds (JD 50) and Wayne Thayer (Reed's Farmall MD) over-stayed their welcome and brought all but $5 in prize money.
Many changes have been made to this pulling event over the years, but it remains one of the many popular attractions each year at the Fair.
A big job before the Fair each year was to put up snow fence around the field and to put up exhibit tents. The snow fence was required to make sure that all fairgoers came through the gate and the tents were required because there were no permanent buildings. To this day, tents help to house some of the attractions at the Fair (bingo being the most popular). The ritual of putting up the tents each year before the Fair, and then the labor of tearing them down once the Fair is over probably sticks in the minds of many volunteers at the Fair. These canvas tents are quite large and heavy, and the order of placing and erecting center poles, side poles, driving stakes, and tying rope is almost an art form.
Soon after the Fair moved, a permanent building to house the Fair Association Food Booth was constructed (and frequently enlarged in the years that followed). The first major building project at the VFW Field was the cattle barn. In 1957, this building was constructed on land owned by Dudley Martin; shortly thereafter a large addition was built on land leased from Roland and Florence Clough. This addition was designed to be used for livestock during the Fair and for skating during the winter. While the Fair Association took a leadership role in supplying labor and money for materials, a request went out to the community to furnish additional help. The lengthy list of volunteers who assisted in this project reveals that the community and 4-H members responded well to this request. The other building which the Fair used extensively for all the years it was on the VFW Field was the school. This building was used to house all 4-H, Grange, art, arts & crafts exhibits. It was also the location for a few commercial exhibitors (fudge inside the front door being the one that everyone remembers!).
During the early 60's, the Fair continued to expand. Dances were still held, with an orchestra providing the music (Don Fields and the Pony Boys Orchestra). A "come as you are" church service in the North Haverhill Methodist Church was added to the fair program. In 1964, the 20th Anniversary, two important additions were made to the Fair.
First, a permanent horse show ring was built on the land behind Paul Mayette's house, which abutted the VFW field. 1964 was also the first year that pony pulling was held at the Fair. The Manchester Union Leader reported that
Nearly 100 entries participated in the open horse show held at the 20th annual North Haverhill Fair Saturday. Show officials stated that this year's group was double that of a year ago. Gov. John W. King was present and assisted at the dedication of the new horse show ring, which was completed this year in time for the fair. ... An additional highlight was pony pulling, the first time that the North Haverhill Fair has scheduled the event. ... In the pony pulling, New Hampshire's "little horses" ruled the day. Approximately 500 avid fans of this new type of sport stood on the side line cheering on the favorites.
Pony pulling continues to this day as a popular event, and the horse show ring was used until the Fair moved to its current location in 1982.
As in prior years, the parade in 1964 was held on the main street of the village, ending at the Fairgrounds. Records indicate, however, that fair officials were to check the possibility of holding the entire parade on the grounds in 1965. This did indeed happen, and today the tradition of the Sunday afternoon parade winding its way around the fairgrounds continues to draw a large crowd.
The late 60's and early 70's were marked by gradual changes to Fair events. In 1966, ox pulling was held for the first time. A permanent stage facility was built in 1969, and the evening dance was no longer held. In 1974, Fair Directors voted to buy the "ice cream building" from Forest Hills Store to use as the Fair office (still in use today!). Admission had risen to $1 per day by the mid-60's, and in 1974, the first 4-day fair was held with Thursday being "pre-view day."
In late 1976, the directors of the Fair Association took a bold step. Recognizing that the Fair had outgrown its existing location, they voted to buy the 35 acres now known as the Fred C. Lee Memorial Field, the Fair's current location. The planning and logistics involved in moving the Fair were enormous. Consideration had to be given to the physical layout of the new grounds, the number of buildings, water sources, fencing, traffic, electrical needs, and so forth. After six years of hard work, the Fair moved to the Fred C. Lee Memorial Field in 1982. Only two of the four large buildings now on the grounds had been constructed at that point -- the dairy barn and the 4-H and Arts & Crafts buildings, reflecting the emphasis of the Fair. The office, food booth and Girls' Club food booth had all been moved from the old grounds. Commercial exhibits were housed in large tents, and livestock shows were held in smaller tents or outside.
In the years since 1982, slow and steady improvements have been made to the physical facilities at the Fair. In 1983, the building which houses commercial exhibits was constructed. In 1986, the arena for showing cattle, goats and other livestock was built. The cover and enclosure for the stage and the cover for the pulling scales were built in 1991, and major electrical and water improvements have been made over the past three years.
You may notice that several of the buildings on the grounds are named in honor of individuals. The first of these dedications occurred in 1990 when the show arena was named for Kevin Kennedy, who had for many years been a key leader in the 4-H dairy program. In 1991, Richard "Dick" Rutherford was honored for his years of involvement and leadership in the 4-H dairy program with the naming of the dairy barn. That same year, the arts & crafts building was dedicated to Gerald Stoddard. Gerald was one of the founding members of the Pink Granite Grange Fair and his involvement and leadership in the Fair have been uninterrupted for fifty years. In 1992, the ticket booth at the entrance gate was dedicated to Arthur Clough whose presence at the "gate" has been a fixture for over 30 years. Last year, the stage was dedicated to Orman "Red" Thayer, whose
behind-the-scenes efforts have helped the Fair to run smoothly for years.
Events at the Fair today reflect a combination of new and old. Some, like horse pulling and the parade, have existed since the first years of the Fair. Others, like the 4x4 truck pull (1986) and the kiddie tractor pull (1991), are recent additions. As always, there is something for everyone: tractor pulling, horseshoe pitching, the greased pole contest, dairy shows, art exhibits, kiddie parade, flower show, ox pulling, pony pulling, horse shows, draft horse shows, mule shows, goat shows, puppeteers, cloggers, fireworks, water polo, rides, games, stage acts, 4-H exhibits, and on and on. New ideas are tried every year which complement the old-time tradition of this country fair. The events and some of the people who have volunteered to run them over the past fifty years are described more fully in the section that follows. Taken together, all these activities make the Fair what it is today and has been for fifty years --- an attraction that the entire family can enjoy.
This year, 1994, is the time to celebrate 50 years of fun, laughter and hard work. It is a time to remember the fairs of the past and to look forward to many more fairs in the future.
4-H and the North Haverhill Fair have worked cooperatively together for the 50-year history of the Fair. 4-H has maintained a large exhibit hall and has conducted numerous animal shows: livestock, dairy, rabbit, dog and horse to name a few. Hundreds of 4-H members participate annually in the Fair by exhibiting a total of over 1,000 items (sewing, cooking, arts & crafts, woodworking, gardening, etc.) in addition to prize animals. To encourage this participation, the Fair supplies volunteer help and awards ribbons, premiums and trophies for the hundreds of divisions offered within the 4-H program. In addition to the agents and department supervisors listed below, 4-H involvement in the Fair continues each year through the efforts of countless 4-H leaders, parents and volunteers.
1944-49(?) Francis V. Tuxbury 1954-65 Thomas Hahn
1950-52(?) Richard M. Clark 1965-pres. Dick Fabrizio
1953 Arthur Reuman
4-H Agents and Secretaries Supervising Exhibit Hall
1957-63 Carolyn Crowell 1973-74 Diane Finlay
1963-66 Carol Michael 1974-79 Judy Tenney
1965-pres. Hazel Ames 1979-85 Marge Goodson
1966-68 Joyce Reed 1986-pres. Marilyn Fuller
1968-73 Roxanne Chamberlin
4-H Dairy and Livestock Show Superintendents
19??-75 Dick Rutherford (continued to work with dairy show until early 1980s), Red Thayer
1969-80 Kevin Kennedy (worked prior to 1969, dating back to 1956)
1981-90 David Keith and Richard Fabrizio
1991- Bob Stoddard and Richard Fabrizio
For the first twenty (or so) years of the Fair, there were many dairy farmers in New Hampshire and a large crowd of 4-H dairy members who exhibited their cattle each year. In its heyday, nearly 200 head of dairy cattle representing all breeds and 50 head of beef cattle representing at least four breeds would be included in the shows. At one time, only Grafton and Coos County 4-H youth exhibited livestock at the fair due to space limitations. In the early eighties, the dairy and livestock shows were opened up to 4-H members from Carroll, Belknap and Sullivan Counties in addition to the Vermont counties of Orange and Caledonia. The actual "show" has been held in several arenas: the first exhibitors paraded their animals under the open sky. Later, tents were set up and
the 4-H cattle show was held under the "Big Top." In 1986, a permanent building for showing animals was built and later dedicated to Kevin Kennedy to honor his years of involvement with 4-H dairy and livestock. The cattle barn and milking parlor, which has been named in honor of Dick Rutherford, was one of the first permanent buildings at the current location. For the past few years, Stoddardview Dairy (John and Sally Stoddard) has been in charge of operating the milking parlor and furnishing the milking equipment in this building; the bulk tank for this area was donated by Mountain Milk. Russ Woodard has assisted by inspecting and overseeing dairy sanitation. This functional milking parlor allows fairgoers to see dairy animals being milked and provides an educational backdrop to the Fair.
4-H Tractor Driving Contest
1952-77 Dick McDanolds
The first Grafton County 4-H tractor driving contest was held in 1952 at Rintha Church Nutter's pasture. All participants were required to have 20 hours of class time on tractor care and maintenance, with an equal amount of time spent on practical study and driving practice. Scoring was on a "points off" system with the following components: (1) an exam stressing care and safety of operation, (2) negotiating a prescribed course with a 2-wheel trailer, backing down an alley, doing a figure-eight in a lane with narrow gates, and backing into a shed, (3) lining up to a belt driven machine (later this became a 4-wheel wagon course), and (4) general safety. All of the driving was timed on a stopwatch which helped to determine the final score. Most of the contestants were from the local tractor club and included youth from Lisbon to Piermont to Benton; this club furnished 26 winners in 26 years! These winners went on to compete at the State Contest (where they won 12 of the 26 years); winners from State then went to Eastern States (until 1956) (3 winners); the final contest was the Atlantic Rural Exposition in Richmond, VA (11 attendees). One of the most memorable years was 1954 when Raoul and Bruno Fournier took first and second at North Haverhill, the State Contest, Eastern States, and finished tenth at Richmond.
4-H Horse Show Superintendents
Late 60s to 1972 Carl Dellinger
1970s Evelyn and Virginia Elms
1993- Melanie Ulery
4-H Dog Show Superintendent
1988- Bernice Johnson
4-H Rabbit Show Superintendents
1990 Eva Grochocki
1991- Mr. & Mrs. Paul Antos
MEALS / FOOD BOOTH
When the Fair started, interested townspeople joined together to donate food and serve a mid-day meal. As the Fair grew, it was necessary to purchase some of the food. Pies, for example, were obtained from a bakery in Lisbon ("for a very reasonable price"). After the move to the VFW Field, the school kitchen was used for meal preparation and serving. By this time, nearly all the food was purchased from area businesses. Dot Sawyer served breakfast every morning to the 4-H dairy exhibitors and the carnival crew. Various organizations put on the dinners and suppers. Eventually, the dinners were discontinued as visitors to the Fair seemed to appreciate the convenience of the Food Booth, which was both closer the midway and events and, perhaps more importantly, served food at all times of the day and well into the night. As the Fair has moved and grown, there has always been plenty to eat on the grounds. Long hours of preparation, cooking and serving still continue at the Fair food booth, which is still managed and staffed by volunteers.
1940s Groups of ladies put on dinners and suppers at the Fair
1952 Florence Clough - Food tents
1954-55 Ernestine Ingalls
1955-62 Dorothy Sawyer - Meals at the school kitchen
1963-71 Nora Davidson - Meals Chairman
Food Booth Chairs
1956-64 Florence Clough
1965-67 Florence Clough, Isabelle Thayer
1968-73 Florence Clough
1974 Florence Clough, Mary Ingalls
1975-76 Florence Clough
1976-79 Carol Carr
1980-82 Rita Fournier
1983- Marge Lane
Since the first years of the Fair, the Parade has been a special attraction. After much work by the Parade committee and hours of labor by everyone who participated in the Parade, the procession begins each Sunday at 1 p.m. Floats of every description have been created by local organizations, 4-H clubs and community businesses. During the years of the Fair Queen contest, each queen also had a float in the parade. In election years, politicians generally make a good showing. And every year there are bands, decorated bicycles, clowns and other entertainers making this a festive event. The end of the parade each year continues to be marked by 4-H boys and girls leading their cattle and other animals around the grounds for all fairgoers to enjoy.
1956 Lawrence "Hap" Smith
1957 Lawrence "Hap" Smith, Curtis Cassady
1961 Lawrence Hap Smith, Colin Cassady
1962-66 Leon Dargie
1967 Leon Dargie, Ray Eno
1968-70 Ray Eno
1971 Leon Dargie, Charlie Hanson
1972-74 Barry and Sharon Regal
1975 Charlie Hanson, Bob Clifford
1976-78 Charlie Hanson
1979-83 Ray Eno
1984-85 Stan Stoddard
1986-91 Claude Gadwah
1991- Michele Thayer
CLICK HERE To Go To Page Two of History