The Hippo


Oct 20, 2019








Upcoming NH fairs

North Haverhill Fair 
When: Wednesday, July 22, through Sunday, July 26
Where: 1299 Dartmouth College Highway, Haverhill
Canterbury Fair 
When: Saturday, July 25
Where: Baptist Road, Canterbury
Cheshire Fair 
When: Wednesday, July 29, through Sunday, Aug. 2
Where: Monadnock Highway, Swanzey
Belknap County 4-H Fair
When: Saturday, Aug. 8, through Sunday, Aug. 9
Where: Mile Hill Road, Belknap
Cornish Fair 
When: Friday, Aug. 21, through Sunday, Aug. 23
Where: Town House Road, Cornish
Lancaster Fair 
When: Wednesday, Sept. 2, through Monday, Sept. 7
Where: 516 Main St., Lancaster
Hopkinton State Fair 
When: Friday, Sept. 4, through Monday, Sept. 7
Where: State Fairgrounds, Contoocook
Hillsborough County Agricultural Fair
When: Friday, Sept. 11, through Sunday, Sept. 13
Where: 15 Hill Dale Lane, New Boston
Rochester Fair 
When: Friday, Sept. 11, through Sunday, Sept. 20
Where: 72 Lafayette St., Rochester
Deerfield Fair 
When: Thursday, Oct. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 4
Where: Deerfield Fairgrounds, Route 43, Deerfield
Sandwich Fair 
When: Saturday, Oct. 10, through Monday, Oct. 12
Where: 7 Wentworth Hill Road, Center Sandwich

Fair fare
It’s not a fair without the food

By Allie Ginwala

Whether it’s cotton candy, corn dogs or candy apples, everyone has a favorite food they look forward to devouring each year at state and county fairs. 

For Pat DiMaggio, office administrator for the Hopkinton State Fair, it’s a blooming onion — and DiMaggio has had her fair share of fair food, starting with her childhood years growing up in Topsfield, Mass.
She said she’s encountered favorites like Italian sausages, buckets of fries, fresh-squeezed lemonade and soft-serve ice cream across New England because those items incorporate all of the ideal fair food factors — “anything that is quick and easy,” she said. That’s a key factor both for the consumer eating the food while walking around and for the vendor making the food onsite or transporting it in. 
“It has to be a handheld product or something you can go to a picnic table with,” she said. “Quick and easy with the grills, refrigerated well, foods that will not spoil easy.”
While the greasy goodness of traditional fair food is still going strong, in recent years trends have shifted toward a wider range of options for fairgoers.
DiMaggio said that tempura was sold at the Hopkinton State Fair a few years ago, and this year vendors with Balinese and Polynesian cuisine have showed interest in being involved. 
“And now, people want something healthy [like] salads and wraps, and that's really new recently. You'll find that it’s more away from fried and toward healthy,” she said. “I can remember seeing two or three vendors with the fried candy bars [previously]. I don’t think I’ve seen that here in the last few years.”
Kate Luczko, public relations and marketing chair for the Canterbury Fair, still associates fairs with the traditional and delicious but unhealthy foods. 
“I think of when I was a kid I was always excited about candy apples and ice cream and the sweet things,” Luczko said in a phone interview. 
Food at the annual Canterbury Fair is very traditional, with the signature chicken barbecue meal served with baked beans, coleslaw, a biscuit and dessert. Other old-fashioned favorites like sausage grinders, hot dogs, ice cream and baked goods are also available. 
While the true-to-its-roots fair continues to cook up favorites year after year, Luczko said they are not opposed to evolving and trying new things.
“We’ve tried over the years to offer different opportunities [because] not everybody eats meat, so we have vegetarian burgers,” she said.
Pulled pork, tacos, salads and fruit cups will also be offered in Canterbury to try to appeal to those with alternative diets.
Vendors serving food at fairs across the state typically include a mixture of local and out-of-state businesses. DiMaggio said the Hopkinton State Fair has a number of New England-based businesses, with the goal to keep it as local as possible. 
“You try to [keep it local] because you want to support your local people,” she said.
On the flipside, the Canterbury Fair is about as local as it gets, since the food is run solely on a volunteer basis. 
Each year the Canterbury Benevolent Society holds a bake sale and the Sunset Mountain Fish and Game Club takes care of the chicken barbecue. While those staple items are offered annually, much of the other food is dependent on who volunteers and often the menu comes down to availability, affordability and interest. 
“We’re very open to new ideas and new concepts and it has to come [by] the person power behind it,” Luczko said. “It really is a labor of love. There’s something quaint and different [about it]. If you go into some of the bigger fairs … it doesn't have maybe quite the personality or character. [It’s] not necessarily good or bad, just different.” 
As seen in the July 16, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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