Sunday, April 20, 2014 07:28pm
North Adams, MA now: 61 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

 
TOP STORIES AROUND THE COUNTY

Great Barrington Fair at the monthly meeting

09:52AM / Monday, March 02, 2009
Print | Email
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. - The public is invited to share memories of the Great Barrington Fair at the monthly meeting of the Great Barrington Historical Society (GBHS), March 25, 7 p.m., at W. E. B. DuBois Visitor's Center, 684 S. Main St.

Photos and a talk will be given about the agricultural-racing venture occupying the site for some 150 years. Michael Fitzpatrick, GBHS board secretary, will chair the event; he worked summers at the Barrington Fair while in college and later "at the starting gate."

Gary Leveille, GBHS vice president, will provide power-point images of the fair which has been on South Main St. since 1842. It is now weedchoked and abandoned -- since the late 1990s -- but once was the site of a prominent, annual fall event drawing upwards of 10,000 at post time.

Several local horseman have been invited to share their tales about days on the track. Sulky races, stage shows and agricultural exhibits were joined by pari-mutuel horse racing, in 1935. Its earlier origins included use as a drilling area for Company A, 10th Massachusetts Regiment.

Antiques shows, dog shows, rock bands, circuses, gymkana, and monster truck events have all been held there over the years. It has also been used for overflow parking for area events.

In 1995, a tornado at the end of Memorial Day weekend, swept through -- just after local Boy Scouts had de-camped from there after 3 days. Many buildings were damaged, but they and the 19-acre grounds were restored and reopened briefly in the late '90s for several fair seasons.

Early town historical records show this floodplain area along the Housatonic River was inhabited by a branch of the Mahican Indians known as the Housatonic tribe; Massachusetts Historical Commission considers it a significant archeological area. When the town of Sheffield was founded, they named the land Indiantown or the North Parish; those lands later became Great Barrington when it was incorporated.

The Housatonic Agricultural Society began to use the property for fairs starting in 1842, later purchasing the land in 1854. In the mid-20th C. more acreage -- former pasture -- was acquired from descendants of the Capt. Truman Wheeler farm, on the south end. (The Wheeler homestead is currently undergoing restoration by the Society for a town museum and research center.)

In 1940 Edward J. Carroll of Agawam bought the fairgrounds and ran a highly successful fair for 36 years. Mr. Carroll's tenure coincided with its heyday, especially around the late 1960s and '70s, when record numbers attended under pleasant Indian summer skies which earned the moniker "Carroll weather." Subsequent owners did not easily benefit from such; the last fair promoter filed for bankruptcy, having had other business complications including the demise of the racing circuit.

Refreshments will be served. A brief business meeting will be held before the presentation. The public is invited, free of charge. For more information about the Society, go to www.greatbarringtonhistoricalsociety.org.
0Comments



View All
Clarksburg Egg Scramble 2014
The annual Easter egg hunt, sponsored by the VFW, was held...
Pittsfield Egg Scramble 2014
The annual Egg Scramble at Morningside Community School saw...
Track: Monument @Hoosac...
Monument Mountain bested Hoosac Valley on its home turf...
Girls and Boys Tennis: PHS vs...
4-17-14 Girls and Boys tennis match between PHS vs Mt....
Softball: Lee vs Hoosac
4-14-14 Kassandra Kazimierczak went 2-for-4 with a double...
Baseball: MG vs Hoosac
4-11-14 Dan Flynn's suicide squeeze with the bases loaded...
Softball: MG vs McCann
4-11-14 Mount Greylock and McCann Tech played an atypical...
Sullivan School CPR Class
Seventh-graders at Sullivan School in North Adams learned...
Lacrosse: Mounties vs. Hoosac
Mounties overwhelmed Hoosac Valley on Wednesday 14-1....
North Adams Furnace St. Fire
Firefighters contained a top floor apartment blaze on...
Berkshire Chamber Career Fair...
More than 50 employers connected with job seekers at...
Lacrosse: MG vs St. Joe
Mount Greylock boys lacrosse team won 17-4 St. Joseph at...
Softball: MG vs Drury
4-8-14 Mount Greylock softball claimed a 7-2 victory over...
Wahconah High School Musical...
Wahconah Regional High School is putting on the 1930...
Drury Coach Marceau Benefit
Friends and supporters filled the Eagles Hall on Friday...
Lenox High International Fair
Lenox Memorial Middle and High School students got to...
Clarksburg Egg Scramble 2014
The annual Easter egg hunt, sponsored by the VFW, was held...
Pittsfield Egg Scramble 2014
The annual Egg Scramble at Morningside Community School saw...
Track: Monument @Hoosac...
Monument Mountain bested Hoosac Valley on its home turf...
Girls and Boys Tennis: PHS vs...
4-17-14 Girls and Boys tennis match between PHS vs Mt....
Softball: Lee vs Hoosac
4-14-14 Kassandra Kazimierczak went 2-for-4 with a double...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings |
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2012 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved