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Globe Magazine

Photos of New England’s favorite country fairs

As harvest time arrives in New England, old-fashioned festivals fill the calendar.

Asher White, 7, of Bethel, Vermont, with his sheep Mae. The boy and sheep were dressed as triceratops during the sheep costume contest at the Tunbridge World's Fair in Tunbridge, Vermont, last September.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Summer turns to fall, and New Englanders gather at country fairs for storied rituals: competitions and performances, demonstrations and exhibitions, riding carnival rides and eating carnival food. Around the barns and along the midways, crowds meander through the fairgrounds in search of good old-fashioned fun.

Firefighters and audience members compete in the bucket brigade during the Firemen’s Muster at the Lancaster Fair in New Hampshire on August 30, 2018. Coordinator Michael Kopp says the competition is a great way to get the children involved. “They love it and it’s free. It doesn’t cost them anything except a wet pair of shoes.” This year’s event runs from August 29 through September 2.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Trainer Freddy Ward prepares a horse for harness racing at the Cumberland County Fair in Cumberland, Maine, on September 28, 2018. This year’s fair is September 22 to 28.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Camden York, 10, of Raymond, Maine, wrangles a piglet during the pig scramble at the Cumberland County Fair on September 29, 2018. Following the event, the participating children raise the pigs until they’re ready for market. Wendy Gallagher, head of the Cumberland County 4-H Swiners Club, says the goal of the club is “first and foremost, they learn some responsibility on how to care for an animal.” Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Byron Angell performs with the Ed Larkin Old Time Contra Dancers at the Tunbridge World’s Fair in Vermont, on September 14, 2018. His wife, Bunchie, says the couple enjoys seeing old friends at the fair. “Every day you bump into someone you haven’t seen in ages,” she says. This year’s fair runs from September 12 to 15.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Ira Ferro, 11, of Tunbridge carries a blooming onion at the Tunbridge fair on September 14, 2018. Ira worked at the fair with his family at the Historical Society making ice cream and doing woodworking demonstrations. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Stunt motorbike riders Travis Webber (left) and Ed Rossi of Team FMX perform at the Three County Fair in Northampton on September 1, 2018. “It’s a total separation from life,” says Webber. “You’re 150 percent into riding. If your mind wanders, you end up in the hospital.” This year’s fair opens August 30 and ends September 2.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Pigs entertain the crowd as they round a corner during a show by Bruce Bemis of Grannie's Racing Pigs at the Three County Fair in Northhampton last September 1. Bemis said his late mother originally thought of racing pigs while visiting a county fair in 1942, and she trained them with Oreo cookies.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Shirley Berube of Groveton, New Hampshire, a fair volunteer, shows off her hula hoop moves on August 30, 2018, at New Hampshire’s Lancaster Fair. “There’s something for everyone, no matter what age you are,” says the 69-year-old grandmother of five. “I’m just a big kid.”Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Roxanne Vesper of Tunbridge showed her American Paint/Pinto horse, Final Dream Lancer, during the Tunbridge World's Fair on September 14, 2018. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Isabella Kulesza, 9, front, leads the national anthem at the 9th annual Fireman's Muster at the Lancaster Fair in Lancaster, New Hampshire, on August 30, 2018. Kulesza was crowned Junior Miss Lancaster earlier that evening. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up she replied, “A nurse, so I can help sick kids.” Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
James Start, of Blandford, stands next to his disabled car after a demolition derby at the Three County Fair in Northhampton on August 31, 2018. Start recalled helping his father paint cars for a derby as a child, creating a bond. Now a father himself, he expects his son will help him in the future. "Once he starts walking, I'll hand him a paint brush," Start said. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Ben Hoyt, 8, of Tunbridge in a barn with his family's cows during the Tunbridge World's Fair last September. The fair is tradition for the Hoyt family. His father, Tom, is a seventh-generation farmer. He said, "I grew up doing the same thing they're doing. When I was a kid I lived in that barn from Wednesday to Sunday." Mom, Becky, says that Ben and his brother Alex show the animals and need to take it seriously. "They earn the right to be here,” she said. “They have to help clean up and take care of the cows. They enjoy the tradition and learn to respect animals."Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Sarah Picard carries her son Ellis, 7, through the midway at the 147th Tunbridge World’s Fair in Vermont on September 14, 2018. They were in the area for a family funeral, and the fair was a much-needed respite.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff