Four Town Fair celebrates 175th anniversary
By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Somers - posted Wed., Sep. 18, 2013
This year’s Four Town Fair - held this year from Sept. 12-15 on the fairgrounds on Egypt Road in Somers - featured plenty of fun family entertainment, an antique car display, agricultural exhibits and demonstrations, rides, concessions, games and much more.
What has been known as the Four Town Fair for years, was, according to the historical account on the fair’s website, originally presented in 1838 as the Culture and Mechanic Arts Society, and served largely as a cattle show for local farmers from Somers, Enfield and Ellington. The following year, East Windsor was added to the mix.
In earlier years, the location of the fair rotated between the four towns, but in 1960 land was purchased in Somers for a permanent fairground. Since then, the towns have rotating hosting the event, with the honor this year falling to Enfield.
While the types of displays and events have broadened in scope since the original fair, the general flavor of the Four Town Fair is still very much agricultural in nature. In one large area, local farmers displayed antique tractors and farming equipment. At that exhibit, Bill Galbraith showed off his 1916 Avery tractor, believed to be the oldest in Somers. “My dad bought this in 1951. It came from a farm on Blue Hills Avenue in Hartford,” said Gailbraith. “There was a lady whose husband had died and she was cleaning out the farm. She had a 1927 Dodge and a 1923 Model T Ford, as well as this tractor, and she sold all three of them to him for just $65,” he said.
This year the Four Town Fair celebrated its 175th anniversary, and while organizers cannot lay claim to holding a continuous fair each and every year since its 1838 inception, the annual fair was cancelled only a handful of times, and for good cause - two years during the height of the Civil War, once due to an outbreak of influenza in 1918, and the WWII years from 1942 through 1945 due to governmental restrictions.
With its long and popular history to its credit, the Four Town Fair may have the distinction of being the oldest fair in New England, and possibly the oldest in the United States, but for young and old, it’s simply a great place to have fun.