The Topsfield Fair, which bills itself as America’s oldest agricultural fair, opened last Friday and will run all this week, through Monday, Oct. 8, with a full complement of shows, exhibits and competitions for the coveted blue ribbon, not to mention midway attractions and culinary delights like fried dough and funnel cakes.
The first fair was held in 1820, and it’s been an annual ritual since, missing only six years in the last 192. The event was suspended for three years during the Civil War, and three during World War II, according to its official history. This year, there’s already been one world record set there, a 2,000-plus pound giant pumpkin.
Topsfield, the history says, was chosen as the most central point in Essex County in those days of stagecoach travel. The fairgrounds is the former Treadwell farm property. which was bequeathed to the Essex Agricultural Society in 1858.