Last weekend for fried dough, racing pigs, and more at the Topsfield Fair!
Here are tips to enjoy the family-friendly event, which is celebrating its 197th year
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The Topsfield Fair is back for its 197th year!
The Topsfield Fair, located in Topsfield, Mass., will run this year from Oct. 2 to Oct. 12. For those who haven’t heard of the Topsfield Fair, it is a kid-friendly and adult-friendly fair filled with fun and games, extravagant performers, rocking concerts, New England’s largest pumpkin, and food, food, food!
As you walk through the fair, the delectable smells of Italian sausage, fried dough, pizza, steak tips, hot dogs,and candy apples fill your mind.
The fair is known to have thrilling performers like the Nerveless Nocks, who are known for their extreme stunts, to famous performers such as MKTO performing this year.
You can go by the animal petting areas to see llamas, goats, and alpacas or you can take a ride on an elephant.
Sound intriguing and thinking about taking a family trip to see what it’s all about? Well here are some pointers to make sure you make the most out of your trip to the fair.
- Tickets are $11 for Oct. 2, 5-8, and $15 each Oct. 9, weekends, and Columbus Day. Children 8 years old and younger always get in free. Parking is $10 per vehicle. (Food vouchers, ride tickets, and selected shows are sold separately.) For more information and to buy tickets, go to http://www.topsfieldfair.org/.
- Make sure to have plenty of pocket money on you as just about all the activities during the fair will cost money, such as paying for rides, getting into performances, and, of course, candy apples, fried dough, and cotton candy.
- Check online to see what concerts/performances are happening on what days. This way you can make sure to plan to see your favorite performers. This year, Tony Orlando, MKTO, Clint Black, and more are all scheduled to perform on different days.
- No food is allowed into the fairgrounds, but don’t fret, there are still plenty of options. There are a couple of sit-down restaurants, but your best option is the food stands. If you’re thinking you could get away from the cold and have a nice warm meal, it’s not worth it. Your sit-down option at The Riverfront Restaurant won’t protect you from the cold (as some of the walls are tent sides that let the draft in). Plus, being only a few dollars for a sausage or a burger, you’ll definitely save money.
- Wondering what exactly you’ll be able to do? You can hit the rides, which include your most favorite spinning rides and the iconic Ferris wheel. Throughout the fair there are many different buildings you can go through, such as the Cattle building, Rabbit building, Chicken building, Fruits and Vegetables building (where you’ll find New England’s largest pumpkin!), the Trade building (where you’ll discover interesting gadgets for sale and can enter contests, like winning a $500 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods). You can also visit the animal petting areas, go to the horse stables, visit the museum that includes exhibits of Essex County Granges (a grange is a country house with a farm building attached), and the Topsfield Fair Farm Museum!
- The pig races are an all-time favorite, but make sure to get there 20-30 minutes early if you hope to get a seat in the stands. By the time the races begin, there isn’t an inch of walking room around the racing course. So make sure to get there early so you have the perfect seat to see the adorable little pigs race to victory around their own dirt track, which is set with obstacles for the optimum pig race possible!
- No matter how old you are, the fair is for you! Child or teen, mom or dad, there are activities made for all ages. Thinking of bringing youngsters who are maybe too young to care about the shows? No problem. Bring them over to the Kiddie Korral for a while so they can let out their energy on the slides and in the sand, or even give them some time to relax and just do some coloring.
- Events are taking place every hour of the fair. Take a look at the map and plan what shows you can’t miss, as many events happen a few times a day. Some of the other fan favorites include the dock dogs jumping competition (watching dogs compete by jumping into water); the horse-pulling competition (watching horses pull tons of weight); the Nerveless Nocks stunt family.
- Note: the later in the day you go to a competition; the further in it is. So, if you would rather just see the best of the best, go to the latest event in the day. For example, a dock dogs competition at noon may be the newbies, whereas a 6 p.m. competition may be the pros!
- It’s very important to know what’s expected for weather the day of your visit. Knowing that it can’t always be a beautiful, sunny, and 75, you have to decide what you’re willing to endure weather-wise. If it’s cloudy, cold, and windy, it’s worth it. Although you’re outside all day, as long as you bundle up in warm and comfortable clothes, you’ll still have a blast walking around the fair with a nice cup of hot coffee or, a fair favorite, hot apple cider. You can get a cider in the Fruits and Vegetables building for only $2, and let me tell you, one sip of the savory, sweet, yet tangy drink will have you hooked!
- If there’s any chance of rain, save the fair for another day. Although you may be prepared with rain coats and umbrellas, most of the festivities are outside, and as much fun as the fair is, there isn’t anything fun about walking through muddy puddles with rain whipping in your face all day.
- Although sneakers may not go with your outfit planned, make sure to wear something comfortable so you are prepared to walk for miles. Trust me, once you’re in, you won’t even have time to sit down!
–Oct. 9, 2015–
Eva Alessandroni is a member of the Raider Times staff. She is currently serving as Online Production Editor.