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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Cover from the 126th Guilford Fair Premium Book
Cover from the 126th Guilford Fair Premium Book

Guilford Fair

Founded by four Guilford farmers whose "cupboards" were "full of the fat of the land," the Guilford Fair had its origin on the eve of the Civil War in 1859. In that first Guilford Fair, Marshal William Fowler of Moose Hill, to the accompaniment of fife and drum music, led the procession of 40 young men riding on horseback and carts and wagons decorated with agricultural products. The early agricultural fairs on the Guilford green also became famous for their cattle shows, when the village was crowded with strings of parading cattle. The competition among farmers was to send the largest possible "delegation" of animals. By 1903 indoor exhibitions featured Guilford merchants displaying meat, potted plants, millinery, and photographs; there were also displays of Indian arrowhead collections and quilts and needlework. The advent of the trolley car in 1910 contributed to an unprecedented Fair crowd of nearly 10,000 people. Guilford Fair outgrew the confines of 8-acre Guilford Green -- its home since 1859 -- and relocated to the 30-acre Hunter Farm off Lover's Lane in 1969. The Guilford Agricultural Society, sponsor of the Guilford Fair, had a mortgage-burning on the property in 1984. A few traditional buildings have been erected, the parking lot has been improved. In its survival and continuity, there is beauty in the Guilford Fair as an occasion for homecoming and reunion.

Project documentation is a photocopied introduction from a spiral-bound book, "The 126th Guilford Fair Premium Book" (1992).

Originally submitted by: Rosa L. DeLauro, Representative (3rd District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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