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Lancaster Fair

516 Main Street
Lancaster, NH 03584

603-788-4531

History

The roots of the Lancaster Fair began to grow from seeds planted in 1870, as the Coös and Essex Counties Agricultural Society. The Society worked with another recently formed group named the Riding Park Association of Coös County. The Riding Park Association purchased a 20-acre parcel of property from the Emmons's Stockwell farm. It was located on the main road to Northumberland. On this site, they created one of the finest tracks of its day. The two organizations appeared to have worked out an agreement and apparently sponsored many races and other events. Unfortunately the two groups abandoned the work and the property was sold to George Rowell, a resident of New York and former resident of Lancaster. In 1884, he resurrected the Coös and Essex Counties Agricultural Society, which was headed by Edward Spaulding. It featured horse racing and jumping, wrestling and bicycle racing. The fair did well but eventually closed down, then was revived once again by a group of local men. The new organization was called the Lancaster Driving Club.

In 1902, the Coös and Essex Counties Agricultural Society was reformed by John Costello, marking the birth of the true Lancaster Fair. In February 1902, a meeting was held at which members were appointed. Frank Smith was named president, Manasah Perkins vice president, John McIntire secretary, and J.D. Howe treasurer. Other directors were elected from surrounding New Hampshire towns, including Lancaster, Northumberland, Jefferson, Whitefield, Dalton, Stratford, Stark, Berlin, and Gorham  as well as the Vermont towns of Guildhall, Lunenburg and Maidstone. The first Fair was held in September of that year. It included racing, baseball, exhibits, and other stage acts. Governor Chester Jordan was present. He was born in Colebrook and lived in Lancaster.

The 1990s also saw the midway amusement ride contractors change from L&L, to Smokey's, to Pino. Entertainment included the Bellamy Brothers, Waylon Jennings, Lynn Anderson, Holly Dunn, Tammy Wynette, Hank Thompson, Tiny Tim, and the Forrester Sisters to name just a few.

Ushering in the new millennium the Lancaster Fair has continued to be a pillar in the North Country and its agricultural community. The Fair has continued to provide great entertainment such as the likes of Aaron Tippin, Charlie Daniels, and the Oak Ridge Boys. In an era of decline of agriculture and farming and the ever increasing emphasis on technology and conveniences, the Lancaster Fair has tried to adapt by adding new features such as wireless internet access, computer technologies, and has a full service campground for our fairgoers.

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