Let’s Go to the Fair!—Deerfield, NH
It’s no secret that New Hampshire is the place to be in the autumn—the swarms of leaf peepers tell us that— but there is more to the small state than just pretty trees and lake houses.
Every year at the end of September, New Hampshirites flock to the tiny town of Deerfield for their share of greasy food, livestock, and festivities. Dubbed New England’s oldest family fair, the Deerfield Fair is a local favorite for the young and old.
Between the rows of food concession stands packed with funnel cake, sausages, and anything else vendors can fry, a trip to the fair offers visitors the classic attractions like midway rides, entertainment, and barns full of animals. A walk through the numerous exhibit halls showcases local homemade crafts, produce, art, and kitchen creations decorated with the ribbons they won among the competition. In true downhome New Hampshire fashion, the fair also features a Woodsman’s Contest with flannel-clad men and women competing in Ax Throwing, Chopping, Crosscut, and Log Rolling.
One of the areas not open to the public is the show horse barns. From rated breed-specific classes to 1.20- meter jumpers to Walk-Trotters on their adorable ponies, the four-day horse show is sure to satisfy equine lovers of all kinds—the fair wouldn’t be complete without it! With some of the most exciting classes scheduled in the evening under the lights (think native costume classes and championships), the way to participate is to whoop and whistle as your favorite horse rides by the judge. More equine excitement can be found at the stock-pulling ring where huge horses and oxen show their strength.
If you’re looking to escape from the chaos and relax, the Pawtuckaway State Park sits right outside of Deerfield and is home to New Hampshire’s diverse wildlife, hiking trails, and a public beach on the Pawtuckaway Lake. The mountaintop fire tower that sits near the top of the South Mountain is a kid favorite and displays an incredible view of the treetops and beyond, while a large marsh shows off some native animals. The park also features a campground with cabins and flat lots on three small islands—hello, lake-view campsites!
Because Deerfield is such a small town, a short drive is required if you are looking for cuisine and places to stay. Manchester and Northwood are both within a half an hour and offer traditional hotels along with delicious eateries. Trust us when we say that the chicken fingers from the Puritan Backroom are well worth the drive!
See? There is much more than colorful leaves in good ol’ New Hampshire. Whether you are visiting for the fall foliage or just passing through, there are a few great places to stop by in the Deerfield area—as well as a fun fair to bring your kids to!