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Around The Grange
Heat, rain fail to faze fairgoers

By Jenna Ciaramella (Register Citizen 7/31/06)

  JULY 31, 2006 --

The Agricultural Fair cultivated a significant turnout with lots of entertainment regardless of undesirable temperatures and weather.

"We've definitely been effected by the heat and rain, but it has still been a good turnout," fair president Todd Gelineau said.

About 30,000 people regularly attend the fair, which is in its 39th year, and this year's attendance was about 25,000 people, Gelineau said.

"This is a great family event and fun for the little ones," Liz Howard, of Watertown said. Howard was with her daughter, 2-year-old Margaux LaPointe, who was pointing and smiling at the animals.

People of all ages were able to enjoy midway rides, games, contests, musical performances and entertainment acts, a wide selection of food choices, homemade baked goods, home grown produce, homemade crafts and petting animals at the petting zoos, Gelineau said.

"From cake decorating to folk artists, we try to get a full spectrum of different activities and entertainment," Gelineau said.

Education and entertainment are two very important criteria for events at the fair, and the 300 volunteers involved work vigilantly to keep the event attractive and interesting to all types of people, Gelineau said.

"We try to evolve with the changing public, and present something that is attractive to all different types of people," Gelineau said. "We want to attract people who wouldn't ordinarily want to come to a fair also."

Goshen resident Jay Youmans said that he and his family have enjoyed coming to the event for years.

"This is good for the community and absolutely a fun place to come where the kids get enjoyment," Youmans said. "Goshen is a land of milk and honey. An agricultural fair goes along well with the theme for the area - the theme being preservation of farm towns and agriculture."

The fair was founded by the Connecticut State Grange, which is part of the National Grange that began in 1867 after the Civil War to help heal "wounds of the war and to bring farmers together though common interest in an entertaining and fraternity type of atmosphere," Gelineau said.

Its purpose is to promote information and awareness for the Connecticut State Grange and to promote agriculture and the fair has grown significantly, fair secretary Carol Hnath said.

"Most definitely," Hnath said. "Where it was once a mere thought, it has since changed and matured as it has gone along."

Originally, the event was held at the Durham Fairgrounds, Durham, but moved to Goshen 23 years ago, Gelineau said.

"I love these fairgrounds. They are among the best in the state," Gelineau said.

Country 92.5 radio station was a main sponsor for the event, which had about 20 local and statewide sponsors.



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