North Stonington Agricultural Fair opens for the 55th year
North Stonington — Dark clouds floated overhead, but the rain held off just long enough to allow the 55th North Stonington Agricultural Fair to open without a hitch.
The fair began Thursday evening with goats, food and some antique tractor pulls.
Fair President Mike Riley said that even after 55 years, the annual event still plays an important part in the community.
"A lot of people who have been coming here for 10 or 20 years come here just to see people they only see here," Riley said. "Everybody wants to have a good time. We can't get bigger since we're landlocked, but I always push for us to get better."
The Eastern Connecticut Farm Tractor Puller Association held their speed limit tractor pulls. Although not as loud as the main tractor pulls, which are being held on Friday, the speed-limited pulls still could be heard throughout the grounds. Connecticut resident Zach Bisson, who has been competing in tractor pulls across the northeast for five years, says that the bonds with his competitors help draw him in to compete.
"It's just a fun thing to do," Bisson said. "You have your regular family and then you have your pulling family. You see the same guys at each competition. Sometimes there's a cash prize or trophies, but mostly it's just for bragging rights."
New attractions this year included goat yoga and an obstacle course for the goats to run. Riley also was excited by the local artists they booked for the fair. Thursday night saw local country artist Nick Bosse and the Northern Roots Band perform. Friday will see the performance group Sugar take the stage.
While Riley enjoys the support coming from the thousands of patrons that will attend the fair, he hopes that people will come to meetings to help put the fair together.
"People don't realize that there's a lot that goes into (the fair)," Riley said. "I have people who have been working here for years that have to take tickets all day. It'd be nice to have some people come down and help so they can go home and go to bed after working so hard."
Riley said anyone who is interested in helping can go to the fair organizers' monthly meetings, held on the second Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at 21 Wyassup Road.
Stories that may interest you
Natives of southeastern Connecticut graduate from colleges and universities around the country.
Maddie Martin, 20, was born with Alport syndrome, a genetic mutation that affects her kidneys, eyes and ears. A transplant was needed to save her life and in June, Tammy McManaway of Lisbon decided to donate a kidney to her.
As temperatures soared on Saturday, festival-goers built sandcastles, enjoyed the rides, and sampled from the vendors lining Main Street at the 19th annual Celebrate East Lyme.
Karl Saszik, 47, and his brother, 50-year-old Erik of Chicago, both native New Londoners, planned a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro a year ago as an adventurous reunion. They spent a week climbing a total of 48 miles round trip.