Stratham Fair

Faith Mariacher, 17, of Lee, shears her sheep Thursday to prepare for a 4-H sheep show at the Stratham Fair this weekend.

STRATHAM — The 52nd annual Stratham Fair kicked off Thursday with goats and chickens chilling by fans and fair-goers gearing up for a weekend of food, folks, and family fun.

The fair is hosted by the Stratham Volunteer Fire Department to raise money and offers something for everyone, including rabbit hurdling and hopping competitions.

“Where else can you go and see Dock Dogs doing tricks and jumping into a pool and rabbits hurdling? There’s nowhere else,” said Debra Altschiller, a fair lover who chairs the announcing booth.

With the excessive heat expected this weekend, those with animals are making sure to keep them cool and comfy.

Monika Muise of Epsom hauled a box fan around in a wagon for her 12-year-old son, Corbin Markmanrud, who planned to enter Sugar the goat for the second time.

“We give her extra cold water and put electrolytes in it. It keeps her healthy and happy,” she said.

Her other son, Flynn Muise, 5, was also excited that he was finally old enough to enter his chicken in a 4-H show.

This is the first year that Legacy Lane Farm owner Eric Tarantino brought his goats, chickens and flemish giant rabbit to the fair to be part of a petting zoo.

He also kept a fan on hand.

“They’re used to the heat, but a little breeze keeps them all happy,” he said.

Among the changes this year is a new company providing the amusement rides.

“We have totally new rides. It’s very family-oriented with lots of kids’ rides,” said Francisco Marin, chairman of the fair,

Marin is one of the nearly 200 volunteers who enjoys helping to pull off the event year.

“For me it’s all about bringing the community together and raising money for the fire department,” he said.

The fair, which is located on Route 33, will continue through Sunday.