Organizers of the 53rd annual Stratham Fair have canceled the event for the second year in a row as safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic continue.
According to Francisco Marin, the fair’s chairman, the decision to call off the fair that’s usually held in the middle of July and kicks off New Hampshire’s fair season was made a few weeks ago.
“I think a lot of tough decisions have been made by a lot of places,” he said.
The fair is hosted by the Stratham Volunteer Fire Department and serves as its biggest fundraiser of the year.
Volunteers spend months planning the fair, but with the impact of the pandemic still being felt despite a drop in COVID-19 cases and more people getting vaccinated, organizers agreed it would be best to hold off again.
“There are some other fundraisers we’re going to be planning in the fall, but nothing concrete,” Marin said.
The pandemic forced last year’s Stratham Fair and other New Hampshire fairs to be scrapped. Fair planners were hopeful that fairs would return in 2021.
According to the website for the New Hampshire Association of Fairs & Expositions, several other fairs are planned this year, including the North Haverhill Fair, which is scheduled to be held in late July, followed by the Cheshire Fair, Belknap County 4-H Fair (see below), and Cornish Fair in August.
Fairs planned for September include the Lancaster Fair, Hopkinton State Fair, Hillsborough County Agricultural Fair, Rochester Fair and the Deerfield Fair, which runs into early October and is followed by the Sandwich Fair, which wraps up the season.
While the Stratham Fair is typically a big cash cow, Marin said it doesn’t always make money.
“It’s not always a guaranteed ticket because Mother Nature still plays a role with weather and other things,” he said, adding that the last time the fair was held, in 2019, it “didn’t make money.”