ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire County's only agricultural fair is a high point of summer as local farmers display their livestock and produce; crafts and canned and baked goods fill the exhibit hall; and the sounds of music and crashing cars fill Bowe Field.
But not this year.
The 46th annual Adams Agricultural Fair has been canceled for the first time in its history.
The fair's board of directors announced Wednesday that because of concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made to call off this year's fair.
"It was an extremely difficult decision to cancel the fair," board member Elizabeth Randall said. "We finally decided the health of everyone was more important in light of the pandemic."
She said much of the fair was already planned because they typically start organizing the next year's fair two weeks after the last one ends. But as the pandemic ramped up, the directors were forced to make a decision -- which they did last week.
And this is a first for the fair.
"The fair has never been canceled. The first year on Bowe Field, we had a cloudburst, thunderstorm," Randall said. "Everyone was holding onto tent posts so the tent would not blow away. Members had equipment out pulling vendors out of small ponds. The next day the sun came out and the fair went on. They joke it always rains for the Aggie Fair! We always go on."
Randall said she thinks the fair will be missed especially this year after a tough few months
"I think the fair will be missed. It is family-oriented with something for everyone," she said. "Many bring chairs and watch the ox or horse pulls for the entire day."
She noted that the lack of a fair is a hit to local farmers and others who showcase their livestock, produce, and crafts. She urged folks to continue to support the agricultural community in any way possible.
"Everyone should support the local farmers by attending farmers market, perhaps ordering ahead and picking up orders or buying the delicious cheeses and fresh milk that is available," she said. "Buy home-raised eggs when possible and enjoy the orange yolks and freshness."
She said once the pandemic dies down, the utilization of Bowe Field is also a good way to support the fair.
"Bowe Field has become a place to hold events in the past years," she said. "It has a large pavilion, bathrooms, plenty of parking, and easy access. No other comparable venue in our area.
Randall said fundraising was well underway, the demolition derby was scheduled, and they were working on some new events. Although it is difficult to cancel the last agricultural fair in the county, organizers say they will be back next year better than ever.
"The fair will be missed this year but will come back," she said. "Great volunteers make it all possible with donating their time and local support."
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen set a fiscal 2021 residential tax rate of $22.62 and a commercial tax rate of $26.89 per $1,000 valuation. Both figures are up 3 percent over last year.
The board members approved a 115 percent split that represents a 74 cent increase on the residential side and a 90 increase on the commercial side of the tax rate at Wednesday's tax classification hearing.
"Everybody has to pay taxes, and I think we do very well in this community making our elderly feel at home," Selectman Joseph Nowak said. "I think we do well for our children, and this is a matter of everybody pitching in."
Last year, the Selectmen approved the same 115 percent shift that created a residential tax rate of $21.88 and a commercial rate of $25.99, or
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