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Marshfield Fair returns with rides, music, butterflies, and giant pumpkins

Steve Connolly of Sharon was the proud winner of the New England Giant Pumpkin Contest at the 2018 Marshfield Fair - with his record-breaking 1,602 pound entry.Nancy Connolly

Lorrie Dahlen, a farmer who grows organic fruits and vegetables, is an associate member of the Marshfield Agricultural and Horticultural Society, which sponsors The Marshfield Fair.

Dahlen also manages the Marshfield Farmers Market, which operates every Friday, June through September, from 2 to 6 p.m. on the Marshfield Fairgrounds. (From October through May it runs on the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

She also manages the Marshfield Farmers Market, which operates on the Marshfield Fairgrounds every Saturday from May to October.

But the farmers market will freely yield the ground for two weeks this month when the Marshfield Fair continues a local tradition that began more than 150 years ago.

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“It’s one of the longest-running agricultural fairs around,” said Dahlen, whose crops include Asian pears, grapes, and elderberries. “It started as a gathering of farmers to show their products, sell their harvest … They had a parade of 200 oxen down the street in the 1867 fair to show how they plowed their fields.”

This year’s fair takes place Friday, Aug. 19 through Sunday, Aug. 28. It features competitive exhibits and contests, a steady stream of live music and other entertainment, rides, games, and activities specially tailored for children.

“They have something for everyone, whether to learn or just observe. You can be a farmer for a day and dig up the potatoes,” Dahlen said. “They have a wooden tree where you can pick the apples” and other educational but fun devices for young children. The fair’s amusement park section includes a roller-coaster and some new rides.

This year, Dahlen said, the fair also will offer a dozen local food trucks daily.

The fair, which returned last year after missing the first COVID-19 summer of 2020, can draw up to 20,000 people on a fair-weather weekend day.

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This year’s fair will host everything from oxen-pulling and the annual giant pumpkin contest to a butterfly hatchery. Publicity for the fair highlights a children’s zoo with farm animals, an illusionist, a wood carver and a wood turner, a blacksmith shop, water and landscape gardens, organic gardens, hitching draft horses, a quilting bee, arts and crafts activities, various horticulture displays, a photography exhibit, puppetry, and “balloon magic.”

Standard one-day admission tickets (the fair is open noon to 10 p.m.) bought before Aug. 19 are $12; they cost $15 once the fair opens. Children age 6 and under are free. There are also fees for parking on the property and for rides. For more pricing information, visit the fair’s website at marshfieldfair.org.

Special entertainment features taking place on the fair’s opening day, Aug. 19, include demonstrations of ox pulling, a demolition derby, and musical performances by That 80′s Band at 3 p.m. and Fat City Band at 6 p.m.

Events on Saturday, Aug. 20, include a demonstration of “ranch animal sorting” at noon and truck pulling at 1 and 6 p.m. Musical performances include Jake & Jenny at noon, Scarlet Drive at 3 p.m., and Timmy Brown at 6 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 21, features ranch sorting and truck pulling, plus three more musical acts. Upcoming events in the following days include “Pit Bike Racing,” motocross, horse pulling, and demolition derbies.

Dahlen, who is planning to take her 9-year-old son to the fair, looks forward to all the attractions.

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“They have a model train setup that’s huge,” she said. The fair also boasts a miniature model of downtown Marshfield.

Given all this, the weekly Marshfield Farmers Market will set itself up on the town Training Green, located behind the Marshfield Town Hall, 870 Moraine St., on Friday from 2 to 6 p.m.

“It’s a nice change” to a grassy venue, said Dahlen. In addition to the fruits of her own labors, the farmers market includes produce from other regional growers, homemade bread, local honey, and other food offerings.

Robert Knox can be reached at rc.knox2@gmail.com.