EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 27, 2012

Take me to the fair

It's all about tradition at the Topsfield Fair


There is also a parent-child cookie contest, which announces its winners on Monday, Oct. 8, and will accept competitors until Oct. 6.

“They create the cookie together,” Gerrard said. “This year we’re doing whoopie pies.”

While the apple pie and cookie contests are sponsored by the fair, with assistance from Cider Hill Farms in Amesbury, there are cooking contests with corporate sponsors almost every day of the week at the Topsfield Fair, from the King Arthur Flour Favorite Scones Contest to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship.

Entry requirements for all the cooking contests can be viewed in the “Exhibitor’s Handbook” link at the bottom of the Topsfield Fair’s website.

The public can admire the blue ribbons winners in a display case at Coolidge Hall, but they are not allowed to eat them.

Animal farm

Showing off animals you’ve raised is another important agricultural tradition, and the Topsfield Fair exhibits everything from chickens and pigs to sheep, rabbits and cows.

More than 250 dairy goats will trot through the show tent on Saturday and Sunday, according to show secretary Mary Fox of Mont Vernon, N.H., who has been involved with the event for more than 40 years.

Judges are hired from all over the country, Fox said, to confirm certain physical characteristics.

“With an adult body, it is all on the udder, where the milk comes,” she said. “It (should be) well attached, with teats pointing downward in a good direction so it’s easier for milking.”

Udders count for 35 points in the judge’s score, while feet get only four points, Fox said. Udders are also important to local goat farmers Peter and Elizabeth Mulholland, of Valley View Farm in Topsfield, who raise Nubian goats.

“Nubians are considered to be the best goat for cheese-making, because its milk is high in butter fat,” Mulholland said.

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