The Hippo


May 29, 2020








Courtesy photo.

50th annual Stratham Fair

When: Thursday, July 20, through Sunday, July 23. Fairgrounds are open from 3 to 10 p.m. on Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Where: Stratham Hill Park, 270 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham
Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6 to 12 and seniors 65 and up, free for kids under 6
Dogs are not allowed on the fairgrounds unless they are service dogs.
Schedule of events
Midway carnival rides: Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.
Fair opening ceremony: Thursday, 6:30 to 7 p.m.
Fireworks: Thursday, 9:30 p.m.
4-H action exhibits: Thursday, 3 to 6 p.m., Friday, 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.
Pie-eating contests: Friday and Saturday, 1:30 to 2 p.m.
Center Stage schedule
Exeter Musical Arts: Thursday, 4 to 5 p.m.
Portsmouth Music and Arts Funk Band: Thursday, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The Crab Shack Band: Thursday, 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Felicia Berry: Friday, noon to 1 p.m.
Cedar Mountain Bluegrass Band: Friday, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Lydia Barnes: Friday, 3 to 4 p.m.
Granite Planet: Friday, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Jimmy Lehoux Band: Friday, 7:30 to 9 p.m.
The Groove Tones: Saturday, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Sound Decision: Saturday, noon to 1 p.m.
Anna Madsen Band: Saturday, 3 to 4 p.m.
Bad Prom Date: Saturday, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Crazy On You (Heart tribute band): Saturday, 7:30 to 9 p.m.
The EXP Band: Sunday, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Mammoth Steppe: Sunday, noon to 1 p.m.
New Englanders Band: Sunday, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Dance Innovations: Sunday, 3 to 4 p.m.
Stray Dogs: Sunday, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Beer Tent Stage schedule
Mike Dunbar Duo: Thursday, 4 to 7 p.m.
Joel Glenn Wixson: Friday, noon to 2 p.m.
Tom Pirozzoli: Friday, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Muddy Ruckus: Friday, 5 to 7 p.m.
Kacie Grenon: Saturday, noon to 2 p.m.
Jerry Short: Saturday, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Nick and Sherry Pangaro: Saturday, 5 to 7 p.m.
Joel Cage: Sunday, noon to 2 p.m.
RC Thomas: Sunday, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Double Take: Sunday, 5 to 7 p.m.
Family Fun Stage schedule
Magician BJ Hickman: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m.
Puppeteer Diane Kordas: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 12:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Fair share
Stratham Fair celebrates 50 years

By Matt Ingersoll

 The Stratham Fair, one of the oldest and largest country fairs in New England, is returning for a landmark anniversary this year, adding two more stages of entertainment and more rides to the traditional favorites to make it bigger than ever before.

The fair, which has grown over the years to attract more than 20,000 people, will celebrate its 50th anniversary from Thursday, July 20, through Sunday, July 23, at Stratham Hill Park.
What started as a simple chicken barbecue and lobster bake to commemorate the town’s 250th anniversary in 1966 today includes 4-H agricultural exhibits, fireworks, live entertainment, food and more. The families of the original fair founders even remain involved half a century later. Today, it remains a major fundraiser for the Stratham Volunteer Fire Department and other local community organizations.
“One of the biggest things that we are doing to change it up a bit for the 50th is that we’re going to start with the fireworks on Thursday night,” said Vicky Poland, the fair’s entertainment coordinator. “We usually wait until the very end to do the fireworks on Sunday, but this year they will be a part of the opening ceremony.”
If you have attended the fair in the past, other notable changes you may notice this year will include an expanded Center Stage, with a full schedule of live performances that include New England-based rock, blues and country acts.
“We have an unbelievably fun lineup this year on the Center Stage,” Poland said. “The Jimmy Lehoux Band will perform on Friday night, and on Saturday night we’ll also have a Heart tribute band called Crazy On You.”
Other local acts to perform on the Center Stage will include the Portsmouth Music and Arts Funk Band on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., the Crab Shack Band at 7:30 p.m., 16-year-old Stratham resident and singer Lydia Barnes on Friday at 3 p.m., Granite Planet at 4:30 p.m., Sound Decision on Saturday at noon, and several others.
Poland said two new stages with full entertainment schedules of their own are being introduced to the fair, including an acoustic-themed stage inside the fair’s common dining and beer tent. Kicking off the events at that stage on Thursday at 4 p.m. is the Mike Dunbar Duo. Dunbar is a Hampton native who has performed at the fair in the past with his rock band Black Agnes, she said.
“There’s also going to be a Family Fun Stage … dedicated to magic shows, storytelling and other kid- and family-friendly activities,” Poland said.
Local favorites like magician B.J. Hickman and puppeteer Diane Kordas will be on the Family Fun Stage at various times throughout the days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Dozens of local vendors are expected to set up shop for the duration of the fair, offering food, arts, crafts, home improvement products and more.
Many old favorites are returning to this year’s fair as well, like the 4-H exhibits, which include animal parades, shows and more, plus all of the midway carnival rides courtesy of Fiesta Shows. Kids can play in the pig scramble, in which they put their names in a lottery and get put in a pen with baby pigs. If they can catch a pig, they get to take it home.
“The 4-H part of the fair has a tremendous amount of things going on … like cow shows, dog shows and sheep shows,” Poland said. “It’s kind of the nucleus of what we do.”

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