Four Town Fair

56 Egypt Road
Somers, CT 06071

860-749-6527

The Fair's Written History...

A Historical Sketch of The Union Agricultural Society.

Written and Compiled by Martin Steinmetz, Fair Treasurer, April 1980

WE ARE TOLD that during the winter of 1838-1839 the farmers of Somers, being interested to see which school district of the town could show the largest group of oxen and steers, yoked up two hundred and ten pairs of cattle, and exhibited them as Somers Street. From this account we realize the extreme importance of cattle in the agriculture of that period. So great was the interest awakened by this show, that before it closed, it was agreed to organize a Society to promote similar exhibits, and for that purpose to meet at the house of Daniel Gowdy, at Hazardville, in Enfield. The organization was perfected, however, and the Inn of Alpheus Billings, in Somersville. The newly-organized Society was named The Cultural and Mechanic Arts Society.

THE FIRST regular cattle show of the Society was held at Somerville, in the town of Somers, on the 23rd day of October, 1839. At that time the membership was confined to the towns of Somers, Enfield and Ellington. The next meeting of the Society was held at the Inn of Henry A. Abbe, in the Wallop District, in Enfield. At this meeting the territory of the Society was enlarged by the admission of the town of East Windsor. No attempt was made to hold the Fair in East Windsor until 1845, when it was voted to hold the Fair at Ireland (Irish Row), if suitable accommodations could be provided. As Irish Row (now Melrose) contained no tavern, suitable accommodations were not found, and the Fair was held just over the line, in Enfield, at the tavern of Henry A. Abbe. In 1848, however, a Fair was held at Broad Brook, in East Windsor.

FOR MANY YEARS the annual exhibition of the Society was primarily a cattle show. As late as 1883, 80 yoke of oxen and steers were exhibited at Ellington, and Enfield furnished more than any other town. Today it is doubtful if a single yolk of cattle could be found in the four towns. No such economic revolution in agriculture has occurred before since the beginning of written history. As the Society never had a race track, the exhibits of horses were always secondary to the exhibits of cattle. Classes for sheep, swine, poultry, pet stock, agricultural and horticultural produce and flowers were gradually added.

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