Canine acrobats, rides, food, farming and more at Cummington Fair

  • Fred Howes of Ashfield drives a 1937 Silver King in the Cummington Fair’s Antique Tractor Parade, Aug. 26, 2017. FILE PHOTO

  • An above view of the fairgrounds from the Ferris wheel is shown Aug. 26, 2017 during the 149th annual Cummington Fair.

  • 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.

For the Gazette
Published: 8/20/2019 9:50:59 PM

CUMMINGTON — Back for the 151st year, the historic Cummington Fair opens Thursday for four days of events.

The agricultural fair is chock full of farm-related shows and exhibits as well as crafts, carnival rides, dancing, sit-down dinners and entertainment.

Coming to the fair this year for all four days is an action-packed show featuring the high-flying, tightrope-walking, jump-roping canine acrobats of Mutts Gone Nuts, which has been called a “must-see” by the Washington Post.

Once from shelters and now in show business, these dogs, along with their human handlers Scott and Joan Houghton, perform while promoting the adoption of rescue animals.

Traditional features of the fair include antique farm machinery, classic cars, livestock shows, 4-H events, lumberjack competitions and a two-story craft barn, as well as a demolition derby on Friday and Saturday evening.

“The fair has a rich agricultural history and we are dedicated to keeping that knowledge available,” said Bill Perlman, a member of the fair’s board of directors. “We have a museum on the grounds, and a lot of the craftspeople are doing things the same way they were done 150 years ago when the fair first started.”

Perlman said that the fair organizers go to great lengths to make the event both fun and educational.

“A lot of people that come to the fair didn’t grow up on farms, like me — I’m from Brooklyn,” Perlman said. “So we like to make sure that we have good educational materials and posters available.”

There will be square dancing Friday from 8 to 11 p.m., when Doug Wilkens and the Fall String Band will be playing. Twenty bikes and helmets will be given away Friday during a free bike raffle for children under age 10.

On Saturday, active military members and veterans with the proper ID can attend free of charge. On Sunday, which is senior appreciation day, there will be a Golden Wedding contest for the longest-married couple.

“The VA will also have booths set up with information for veterans and many vendors will be offering discounts for them as well,” Perlman said.

A spaghetti dinner will be served on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., a roast beef dinner will be available on Saturday from noon to 2 and 4 to 6 p.m., and a turkey dinner will be served Sunday at 4.

Perlman said the weather forecast for the entire fair looks good.

“We are expecting good weather all four days of the fair with temperatures in the high 70s,” Perlman said. “You see, we put our order in early because if you wait until the last minute you could get snow.”

Earlier this month, the fair drew criticism for promoting a gun store sponsor days after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Albert Judd, president of the fair, told the Gazette that the Facebook post thanking KC Small Arms was “poor timing” and “not meant to be taken in light of recent events in the country.”

On Thursday and Friday, gates will open at 4 p.m., and 7 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For a full schedule of events visit or call 634-5091.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


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