Antique John Deere Tractor in Durham Fair Museum. Photo: Al Benner
Connecticut's largest agricultural fair began in
1916 on the Village Green. The first parade stretched for more than
a mile with floats, boys and girls on horseback, and a large number
of oxen. In 1920 the first amusement ride, a merry-go-round, was
added. Over the years, the fair's agricultural emphasis has been
enhanced with the addition of new and enlarged exhibit facilities.
A key factor in maintaining the character of the fair has been
respect for its heritage. The Farm Museum is a key example of that.
In the early 1970s, the Durham Fair Association began collecting
antique farm equipment, which is exhibited in the museum, located
on the fair grounds. Its collection comprises antique tools,
household goods, machinery, carriages and sleighs, and Durham Fair
The fair has grown over the years. Forty-five acres
adjacent to the Village Green was purchased to expand the fair
grounds, and musical entertainment, which once featured local
bands, now showcases nationally known music stars, primarily
country. To ensure the fair's future vitality and spirit, the
Durham Fair Youth Organization was organized in 1999 to encourage
young people to participate in fair operations.
Project documentation comprises a six-page essay; the
booklet, "Fifty Years of Community Effort: Durham Fair
Association;" a fair book, program and map; a museum brochure; a
1999 fair bumper sticker; and a 1916 Durham Fair Premium List
Originally submitted by: Rosa L. DeLauro, Representative (3rd District).
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.