Northampton’s Three County Fair adds cowgirls and drag racing to four-day fest

  • Buses collide during a demolition derby last year at the Three County Fair. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Bea and Una Boyd, wave to their father, Walker Boyd of Easthampton while on a tractor ride last year at the Three County Fair in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Granny’s Racing Pigs head to the finish line last year during the Three County Fair in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

For the Gazette
Published: 8/24/2019 3:12:51 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Cowgirls decked out in rhinestones doing tricks with their horses, brightly painted buses smashing into each other, and sheep, oxen and rabbit shows — these are just some of the sights to see at the Three County Fair.

James Przypek, general manager of the fair, said he expects about 40,000 people at the fair, which will run from Aug. 30 to Labor Day. 

“I always use the phrase ‘wildly popular’ when talking about the demolition derbies,” Przypek said. “Because they’re popular, obviously, but they’re also crazy. They always sell out.”

The Three County Fair, put on by the Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Agricultural Society, is one of the longest-running fairs in the country. Starting out as an agricultural fair in which people showed off their livestock, apples and pumpkins, the fair, which is celebrating its 202nd year, has since evolved to include other events. 

“The fair’s definitely changed over the years,” Przypek said. “At first, way back when it was held on Main Street, it was just an agricultural fair. Over the years, we just kept adding events, like drag racing and demolition derbies.”

This year, the fair will have a few new events, including live music by country music band Farewell Angelina, which recently added singer Ashley Gearing, a Springfield native. Also new to the fair will be the Rhinestone Cowgirls, who will both perform with their horses and do an aerial show featuring a giant horseshoe.

Another new event Przypek recommended seeing — or participating in — is “Run What Ya Bring” drag racing. “If someone’s GMC wants to race against someone’s Audi or something like that, we’ll set it up on the track,” he said.

Another change: The Veterans Association is again sponsoring the fair and offering free admission for veterans — only on Sunday this year, rather than on Friday, as in past years. 

Even with all these new events, agriculture remains the backbone of the fair, Przypek said.

“The biggest part of the fair is the agriculture shows and competitions,” he said. “Back when the fair took place on Main Street in Northampton 200 years ago, people were showing their cows, what they had, which was basically how it started. And that still happens today. We have everything from apple pie making contests all the way down to the swine show. We have 3,000 entries every year for the competitions.”

With the wide range of events happening at the fair, Przypek said, there’s something for everybody.

“Compare this to going to a museum that’ll cost you twice as much to get it, or to a three-hour ballgame that’ll cost you 10 times as much to get in. We sell all-session tickets for all four days that people buy at a discount,” Przypek said. “And we have so much to offer. We have multiple music concerts every day that are free with your admission, there’s a classic car show, there’s a truck pull event on Sunday morning, carnival-style rides and games.”

A full schedule of events can be found at

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