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Around The Grange
Brooklyn Fair named one state's top summer events

By Dustin Racioppi, Norwich Bulletin (8/10/08)

  JUNE 10, 2008 -- More than 150 years of hard work and volunteerism has paid off.

The Brooklyn Fair, one of the oldest fairs in the country, recently earned the distinction as the only fair listed in Yankee Magazine’s Travel Guide as one of Connecticut’s top 20 events for summer. Willimantic’s Victorian Days, held last week, and Mystic’s annual Wooden Boat Show at the end of the month were other Eastern Connecticut events to make the list.

“It’s just an honor that they included a fair,” Sandy Eggers, vice president of the fair, said. “We were surprised, but at the same time, we weren’t.”

Last year, Yankee Magazine readers named the Brooklyn Fair as the best country fair in New England.

Eggers also is the president of the Association of Connecticut Fairs, so she knows the prestige attached to this year’s distinction.

“There’s really some impressive fairs around,” Eggers said, but added Brooklyn’s continued focus on family and agriculture is what she thinks sets it apart from others in the state. “It’s one of the few times of the year people can go and have something for everyone. It sounds cliché, but there’s really a variety.”

Rick Hermonot, the new fair president and Ekonk Community Grange member, has worked this year to expand the variety for families.

“We have a great group of volunteers who work hard year-round to put together a successful fair,” said Pamela Roy, officer for the Windham County Agricultural Society. “This year, we continue with old favorites like tractor pulls and horse shows while growing the newer activities such as the children’s play land and interactive displays.”

To get people ready for the fair this year, Hermonot and his fair committee have added Brooklyn Ag Days, a full-on agricultural celebration complete with horse shows, ox pulls and hay rides, which took place this past weekend.

That event pales in comparison, though, to the August panoply.

“It’s like the big thing at the end of the summer,” Ashley Hoyt, a 21-year-old Brooklyn resident, said. “You know the summer’s over, school’s about to start. It’s time for the Brooklyn Fair.”

The Brooklyn Fair will be held Aug. 21 through Aug. 24 at the Brooklyn Fairgrounds.

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