Annual Sandwich Fair celebrates its 107th year

By BEA LEWIS
Union Leader Correspondent
October 08. 2017 10:47PM
Noah McAllister, 1, of Tamworth, hugs his family’s Jersey heifer, “Rampage,” at the annual Sandwich Fair, which kicked off Saturday and runs through today. (Bea Lewis/UNION LEADER Correspondent)

SANDWICH — The town’s 107th annual fair is scheduled to run through today, though the forecast remains a bit ominous, organizers said.

The fair opened Saturday. Exhibit halls were filled with many hand-made items, crafts, artwork, photography, 4-H projects, baked goods, canned goods, maple and dairy products, eggs, honey, flowers, rabbits and fowl, all in the competition for some $25,000 in premiums the Sandwich Fair Association annually pays out.

Isaac Nelson, 9, of Tamworth, a member of the Lakes Region 4-H dog club, under the leadership of Susan Blake, was among the blue-ribbon winners. Nelson teamed up with his dad, Andrew, and using donated lumber constructed an agility dog walk that caught the eye of fair judges.

Nelson, who has been part of 4-H for a year, is involved in the family dog program with his collie/dachshund mix and said he has enjoyed learning how to train his dog to sit, stay and respond to other commands.

Dan Peaslee, president of the Sandwich Fair Association, said recent improvements at the fair include the association’s purchase of two in-town properties, allowing for more parking.

Gillette Shows of Pittsfield, Mass., is an organization that has run the midway at the fair for some 18 years, and Sandwich is its sole New Hampshire venue, according to Peaslee.

“They’re a family-run company,” Peaslee said, adding that Gillette has some great vintage rides including a Tilt-A-Whirl built in 1963 and a 1977 Scrambler.

For Peaslee, the fair is a family affair. His maternal grandparents were involved with the fair back when it was a one-day event held on Quimby Field. His late father, Robert, served as a fair director in the early 1980s, continuing until his death in 1994.

Dan Peaslee’s wife, Elaine, does the accounting on ticket sales, and their sons, Bryan and Adam, handle parking and a myriad of other tasks.

“We’re trying to come into the 21st century. It used to be all on paper,” Dan Peaslee said. “We’re working to get everything into a computer to make it easier for the next generation.”


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