Helene Meacham was honored by state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi with a certificate from the House of Representatives.
ADAMS, Mass. — Helene Meacham thought she was just entering her knitting and crocheting work Friday in the Agricultural Fair, as she's done 37 times before.
She didn't know that fair organizers and state officials were honoring her as she approached her 100th birthday.
"I haven't caught my breath yet," Meacham said after state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi read her a certificate from the state House of Representatives and Meacham was asked to cut the ribbon on a new pavilion. "This is too exciting."
Aggie Fair President Patricia Wojcik said organizers were thinking of someone to cut the ribbon on their new building and Meacham "stood out," especially since in just a few weeks she will be 100.
"She's been a supporter of the fair. She's always alert. She's a wonderful lady, very kind," Wojcik said of the selection. "We knew she entered."
Meacham already won a ribbon for her crocheting work this year but she hasn't been involved in the fair for 38 years because of the ribbons she could win but rather for the people.
"I think this is the nicest town," Meacham said. "It's the gathering of the people. We get together and get things done."
Meacham said the fair has doubled in size since its first year and emphasized that it is better now than it ever has.
Commission of Agriculture Wayne Watson talked about how local fairs help promote agriculture to children.
Part of that growth is because of the new pavilion that organizers built with a state grant and local donations. Wojcik said the new building was built with a $50,000 grant from the state Department of Agricultural Resources with a match of cash and in-kind donations. State Commissioner of Agriculture Wayne Watson, state Director of Agricultural Resources Mary Jordan, and Al Craig from the Topsfield Fair were on hand to kick off this year's fair.
"This fair and this pavilion is a signal that we are here to stay," Watson said, who also raved about how the fair gets the word out about agriculture and gets children involved.
The ribbon cutting ceremony opened the 38th annual fair that featured a battle of the bands Thursday night and will feature multiple other activities — concluding with the demolition derby on Sunday. Nancy Lescarbeau of the Williamstown Grange called the three-day fair one of her favorites during the ceremony.
"This is a great moment. This is Americana," Board of Selectmen Chairman Arthur "Skip" Harrington said.
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