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Cummington Fair sees nice weather and good crowds

  • Ava Smith, 12, of Cummington, prepares "Jasmine," her Holstein cow from Bryant Farm, to compete in the breed class of a 4-H show Aug. 26, 2017 during the Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Sophie Parrott, 10, of Chesterfield, looks up from resting on Scottish Highland yearling heifer "Izzy" of of Flat Rock Farm to look at the first place and grand champion ribbons the pair won competing in the 4-H show Aug. 26, 2017 during the Cummington Fair. Below, yearling heifer "Ingrid" is shown. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Miley Babeu, 9, of Windsor, gasps while zooming backwards on the Olympic Flying Bob ride Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Olivia Bard, 5, of North Adams, lifts her hands in the air while riding on the carousel Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Warren Peckard of Suffield, Conn., looks at prize-winning apple entries Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Madison Contois, 7, and her mother Ashley Michael, both of Cheshire, enjoy a spinning ride on the Twister Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Oliver LaValley, 1, of North Adams, front, jubilantly exclaims while looking at prize-winning floral entries with his grandmother Mary Lewis, also of North Adams, at back, Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • A prize-winning bouquet of nasturtium exhibited by Emily Cavin of Plainfield is displayed Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Solomon Buddington, 6, and Shepley Buddington, 2, both of North Adams, visit with "Abagail," an alpaca from Orange-based Step by Step Animal Adventures Aug. 26, 2017 during the Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Joyce and John Bannish of Southwick look at prize-winning quilt entries Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Milo Morton, 5, of Holyoke, left, mounts a carousel horse alongside Emily Kajka, 6, of Florence during the Cummington Fair, Saturday. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Visitors flock to the fairgrounds Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Fred Howes of Ashfield drives a 1937 Silver King in the Antique Tractor Parade Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Jaimie Golec of Easthampton, left, looks on as her daughter Grace Mathurin, 1, enjoys a carousel ride Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Sierra Grandonico, 10, of Conway, enjoys a spinning ride on the Twister Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Sophie Parrott, 10, of Chesterfield, rests on Scottish Highland yearling heifer "Izzy," at right, alongside "Ingrid," both of Flat Rock Farm, after competing in the 4-H show Aug. 26, 2017 during the Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Mila Juras of Cheshire, left, Sue Kirby of North Adams and Tucker Hicks of Charlemont look at prize-winning floral entries Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • An above view of the fairgrounds from the Ferris wheel is shown Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Madison Contois, 7, and her mother, Ashley Michael, of Cheshire, enjoy a spinning ride on the Twister, Saturday, during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Scott Dauphinais of Chesterfield drives a 1939 Farmall A in the Antique Tractor Parade Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Brothers Chet Grenham, 3, left, and Enda Grenham, 6, both of Somerville, share cotton candy Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Jaxson Daoust, 4, of Pittsfield, tries to catch a rubber duck with a hook while his grandfather Frank Russo, also of Pittsfield, cheers him on Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Austin Dizek of Hadley, left, waits with his Jersey heifer Tex for their turn to compete in the intermediate heifer category of the 4-H show Saturday during the Cummington Fair. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY



For the Gazette
Monday, August 28, 2017

CUMMINGTON — The smell of kettle corn and other fair food filled the air at the Cummington Fair on Saturday afternoon, as crowds took in livestock shows, perused handmade arts and crafts, watched acrobatic shows, listened to live music and enjoyed the midway.

A new act this year, the Kenyan Safari Acrobats, from Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, proved to be a popular attraction with both children and adults.

Their act featured high-energy dance, high-flying gymnastics, feats of strength and impressive balancing acts.

“This fair has been very good so far,” group member Amina Kalama said, breathlessly, after performing stunts in which she danced, bent metal bars and held up three other group members in an acrobatic pose. “The audiences have been very responsive; they haven’t let us down yet.”

As soon as the act was over, 7-year-old Sophia Pennell raced onto the field with a giant smile, high-fived Kalama, and asked if she could have her picture taken with her.

“They were amazing, and the best part was the lady that was super strong,” Sophia said.

Her father, John Pennell of Chester, agreed.

“They are fantastic,” Pennell said. “It is great to see an act like this here.”

Showing the sheep

Screams and laughter could be heard from the midway as people enjoyed the variety of amusement rides.

Fairgoers also enjoyed the animal shows and competitions featuring sheep, cattle and oxen.

“I have been coming here for 30 years since I was a kid. This is my favorite fair ever,” Astrid Anderson of Haydenville said after watching an oxen event. “It seems like people from all of the Hilltowns flock here.”

Faaustyna Jaracz, 12, of Cummington and Taylor Mason, 11, of Worthington, chatted in the livestock area after showing their sheep.

“I got a few first places and a second place this year,” Mason said about her horned Dorset sheep, adding that her twin sister Olivia had received a third and fourth place for showing the family’s cattle.

The sisters were representing the Mason Twins Farm, owned by Alison and Fran Mason.

Many people strolled through the craft barn to see handmade wooden spoons, jewelry, pottery, tie-dye T-shirts, cards, soaps and photography. Others enjoyed the agricultural building, where prize-winning vegetables, fruit, maple products, honey and canned fruits and jams were on display, along with hand-knitted clothing and handmade quilts.

Fair organizer Kevin Hollister said he was pleased with this year’s turn out.

“The fair is going very good,” Hollister said. “We have been blessed with good weather and we have had steady crowds.”

Hollister then excused himself to go and enjoy the Truck Stop Troubadours, who were playing to a packed grandstand, and had audience members setting up lawn chairs to listen to their “outlaw-brewed country and rockabilly.”

In his wheelchair, Hollister rolled out in front of the band and began to dance with his sister Sarah Hollister while audience members clapped to the rhythm of the band.

Rural feel

Along with the food, rides and entertainment, there were also plenty of educational exhibits.

Joe Macaglia of the Ashfield Rod and Gun Club manned a booth filled with wildlife educational objects such as skulls, bones, pelts and turtle shells.

The group raises money by raffling off a kayak at the fair to support a scholarship fund, available once a year to a high school senior who will be pursuing environmental studies in college.

Chesterfield Fire Chief David Hewes spent the afternoon at the Hampshire County Fire Safety House educating kids about fire safety.

“We have had a lot of kids come by,” Hewes said. “They really get it and they take that information back home to their parents.”

Sandy Peardon and Donna Wang of Greenfield, who brought their young daughter Issa to the event, said this was their first time attending the fair and they were looking forward to the demolition derby in the evening.

“We were just at the Heath Fair (last weekend),” Sandy Peardon said. “This one is quite a bit bigger, but it still has a very nice rural feel to it.”