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Cummington Fair to open gates Thursday for four-day run

  • Jean Hughes talks about her fried dough stand (background) and its handpainted artwork on August 21, 2017, at the Cummington Fairgrounds. Jean's family has been working fairs for five generations, since her great-grandfather started the business in the 1880s.  GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O'CONNOR

  • Jean Hughes, left, and Janice Hughes pose in front of the house that Janice's grandfather built by hand in 1884. The two were preparing for the Cummington Fair when the picture was taken August 21, 2017, at the fairgrounds. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O'CONNOR

  • Jean Hughes talks about her fried dough stand (background) and its handpainted artwork on August 21, 2017, at the Cummington Fairgrounds. Jean's family has been working fairs for five generations, since her great-grandfather started the business in the 1880s.  GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • The Hughes family has set up fairgrounds throughout the country, including the Cummington Fair, for five generations. Jean Hughes and her mother, Janice, hold a photo of some of the descendants Monday at the Cummington Fairgrounds. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR



For the Gazette
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

CUMMINGTON — It is time once again for the annual Cummington Fair, one of the most anticipated fairs in western Massachusetts.

This year marks the fair’s 149th anniversary, and organizers have been hard at work for weeks planning the popular four-day event that kicks off Thursday afternoon and runs through Sunday evening.

Kevin Hollister, who handles entertainment, said organizers are looking forward to good weather — think mid-70s with plenty of sun — and equally good attendance with audiences being treated to new performers and popular favorites.

Hollister said he is excited about a new act called the Kenyan Acrobats that will perform each day of the fair.

“I saw them at a fair last year and they were so good, I booked them right away,” he said. “They are a family of acrobats that moved to the United States, and I tell you what, they are absolutely amazing.”

As for musical entertainment, back by popular demand this year is local fiddle player Zoe Darrow, who will play on Friday night.

Other musical entertainers include: husband and wife duo Moonshine Holler, playing Thursday; Southwick’s and Truck Stop Troubadours on Saturday, and country and classics singer Jose Duddy on Saturday and Sunday.

“Of course we will have square dancing on Saturday night with Doug Wilkens and the Fall String Band,” Hollister said.

Along with the standard midway rides, craft displays, animal exhibits, entertainment and a preponderance of fair food, each day will have a particular theme.

Thursday is the “Night for Trucks,” which will feature a 4x4 truck pull.

Friday is “Cruise Night” and “Children’s Night,” with classic cars on display, half-priced midway rides, and a free raffle for 14 children’s bikes and helmets.

Saturday will be “Agricultural Day” and “Demo Night” featuring 4-H Club events, oxen judging, and oxen teamster events, and the popular demolition derby in the evening.

Sunday is billed as “Old Fashion Fair Day” with a lumberjack competition, draft horse pulls, and an antique vehicle parade.

“Last year it was very hot during the fair and our attendance was a bit down,” Hollister said. “I have looked at the long-term forecast, and with temperatures around 70 to 75 degrees, it looks like it will be perfect fair weather, so we are hoping for a big turn out.”

Gates open at 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 7 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Admission is $12 for adults; $5 for children ages 12 to 15; and children 10 and under are free. Seniors, military and veterans pay $10 with appropriate identification. ID. Parking for the fair is $5.

A complete schedule of fair events can be found on line at cummingtonfair.com