The Hippo


Oct 16, 2019








139th Annual Rochester Fair

When: Friday, Sept. 12, to Sunday, Sept. 21
Where: Rochester Fairgrounds, 72 Lafayette St., Rochester, N.H. 
Cost: Admission to the fair is $14. Children shorter than 36 inches are free. Bring money for food vendors. Admission to grandstand events (demolition derbies, trailer races and school bus derbies) is $8 for general seating, $10 for box seating. 
From Monday, Sept. 15, to Friday, Sept. 19, free admission is offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Livestock and exhibits will be open. Rides and shows will be closed.     

Appetite for destruction
Rochester Fair enters 139th year with a crash

By Jake DeSchuiteneer

With a wide selection of greasy food vendors, thrilling rides and wild animals, the annual Rochester Fair is just like any other New England country fair — with a destructive side. 
“We wreck more stuff here at this fair in the name of entertainment than you can imagine,” said Mark Perry, general manager of the Rochester Fairgrounds. “Is it silly? Yes, it is silly, but everybody loves it.” 
Entering its 139th year, the Rochester Fair will be held this year from Friday, Sept. 12, to Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Rochester Fairgrounds in Rochester, N.H. 
One of the fair’s popular events is the School Bus Demolition Derby, which is exactly what it sounds like.  
“It’s a demolition derby using school buses,” Perry said. “Nobody on the East Coast does that. It’s gigantic. It’s crazy. We wreck buses for the people who really like the action.”
Another destructive event, the Trailer Derby, starts out as a race between cars towing RVs, boats and campers before things get messy. 
“At the end it turns into a demolition,” Perry said. “It takes a crew of men and a fleet of dump trucks to clean the mess up.” 
The fair has much more to offer than mayhem, however. Throughout the event’s 10-day run, there’s a wide variety of slightly tamer but still exciting entertainment. Daily circus performances by Circus Hollywood will take place in the fairgrounds’ big-top tent. 
“I bring the whole damn circus,” Perry said. “Performers from all across the world have performed under our big top. This is enormous. It’s worth double the price of admission alone.”
Starting Monday, Sept. 15, ventriloquist Sylvia Fletcher will perform daily at the fair’s exhibition hall. Fletcher will appear with her “Magic Trunk” filled with an assortment of witty puppets.  
“She is a ventriloquist extraordinaire,” said Perry. “She can sing as a ventriloquist as well as do the regular routine. Its fantastic. It’s a Las Vegas show.”
Each day, the fair will feature performances from a member of Chainsaw Chix, who will make art using the most unlikely of instruments. 
“She takes whole logs cuts them down and turns them into artwork right before your eyes,” Perry said. “What man isn’t impressed with a woman who can handle a chainsaw? Men are looking at their wives like, ‘You can’t do that.’” 
Giraffic Park, a petting zoo of exotic animals, will be open each day as well. 
“That’s a circus animal petting zoo. It’s got a giraffe and various things like that in it,” Perry said. “That’s popular with all ages. If you like animals, you’ll love that.”   
Perry said that the fair is also notable for the sheer number of rides fair-goers can enjoy. The fair will feature over 40 rides, all of which are free to ride with the price of admission. Rides will include classics like the Ferris Wheel, the Tilt-A-Whirl and a carousel, as well as a brand new thrill ride.     
“We’ve got a new ride called the Fireball coming,” Perry said. “That’s going to spin you upside down at warp speed. You’ve got to see this thing. It’s absolutely crazy.”
According to Perry, providing a huge variety of rides and entertainment is a major priority in planning the fair each year.  
“It’s what sets us apart,” he said. “If you’ve never been to another fair, you may not appreciate what Rochester is. This is a big old fair with lots of stuff going on. I like to think we have something for everybody.” 

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