The Beekeeping & Honey Show at Topsfield Fair is the largest at any fair in North America. The first honey exhibits were entered in 1844. The show has been operated and sponsored by the Essex County Beekeepers Association since 1928. In 1998 the International Association of Fairs and Expositions awarded it “First Place” for the excellence of its presentation.
There are up to four live observation hives on display during the Fair. Knowledgeable beekeepers will explain the inner workings of a bee colony to fairgoers. Children can make their own honeycomb beeswax candle to take home as a souvenir of their visit to the Beekeeping Building.
There are four divisions at the show including: honey, beeswax, beekeeping related arts & crafts and cooking with honey. The competition is open to all.
The Cattle Barn is host to many head of cattle, some with calves, a pair of oxen, and many times a pregnant cow which will give birth over the course of the Fair. Among the breeds on display are Jersey, Brown Swiss, Red Holstein, White Holstein, and Guernsey’s. There are milking demonstrations every day at a milking station, and an observation corral where a calf or two is on display and available for petting.
Nellie, our interactive milking cow, has been part of the Topsfield Fair since 2017. Nellie can “moo” and even tell her own life story. There is a book of her life displayed near Nellie. Fair goers can even get a chance to “milk” Nellie.
Our 4-H and Youth Cattle Show takes place on the first Saturday of the Fair. The show sees many local youngsters and their charges vying for the blue ribbon. This is not a meat cattle show where the winner must relinquish his prized animal to a high bidder, but it is a family show where the participants proudly display their animals.
The American Dairy Goat Association sanctioned Goat Show takes place over two days at Topsfield Fair. The ADGA Open Senior and Junior Doe Shows take place on the second Sunday of the Fair. Goats from all over New England are brought in for this competition, vying for Junior and Senior Grand and Reserve Championships for each breed. Among the breeds competing are Lamancha, Saanen, Nubian, and Alpine goats, as well as others.
The ADGA Open Junior Doe Show takes place on the second Monday of the Fair and pre-registered animals compete in seven breed categories.
There is a goat display in the Sheep Barn all during the Fair, where you can get up close and view the different breeds and personalities. It is a great opportunity to really see how sweet and personable these animals are.
The Pig Barn, one of the most popular venues at the Topsfield Fair, houses two sows and numerous piglets from the Colby Farm in Newbury, MA. Older piglets can be found in the Farmyard tent area.
Various breeds of swine are brought in for display each year. This is to raise public awareness that not all pigs are white in color. You may see red, black, white, or a combination of all these colors.
Don’t miss out on these intelligent, adorable and feisty farm animals. They are guaranteed to bring a smile to fairgoers of all ages.
The Poultry Department has one of the largest poultry shows in the northeast. Our show consists of many species of waterfowl, fancy show birds and a large assortment of bantams. Competitions in turkeys, ornamental and racing pigeons, laying birds and eggs are very popular, with everyone thinking that theirs is the best. All competitors hope that their bird will make the “Court of Honor” where we display the “best of the best.”
The part of the poultry building that is the most sought after is the hatchery. All during the fair we have eggs hatching and baby chicks on display. This is our busiest area and people spend hours waiting for their special egg to hatch. Natures miracle of life is on display for all to see. Another popular activity that our young fair visitors really enjoy is feeding the birds. Last but not least is the hen flying and cock crowing contests that take place on the second Saturday of the fair, come and root home your favorites.
So, stop by the Poultry Building and see the show.
The Rabbit Barn is one of the oldest buildings on the Topsfield Fairgrounds. The rabbit and cavy (guinea pig) display is one of the oldest expositions of rabbits and cavies in the United States. Hosted by the Essex County Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Club it has shown rabbits and cavies to generations of visitors to the Topsfield Fair. There are more than 200 rabbits on display. In this large barn visitors can see the many different breeds of purebred rabbits. They may also visit the club booth where members are on hand to answer questions about rabbits, cavies and club activities. Members also take pride in helping visitors locate breeds in which they have interest. Besides aisles of rabbits for viewing pleasure there is also rabbit wool spinning demonstrations, rabbit petting, educational postings and the cavy display room. A must stop is the ever favorite Baby Bunny Room which is always of interest to the young.
This building also hosts a display that is presented by the Great Scott 4-H club. On display here are the many aspects of 4-H involvement with rabbits
Over 300 sheep of varying breeds partake in the two-day Open Sheep Show at Topsfield Fair. The show takes place on the opening weekend of the Fair and includes Cotswolds, Dorset, Hampshires, Suffolks, Shropshires, and Southdowns, just to name a few participating breeds. The Open Classes feature Yearling Rams, Ewes, Lambs, and flocks. There is also a Youth Costume/ Lead Line class. It is such a treat to see the bright and clever costumes that the children have fashioned for their animals! And the Adult Costume/Lead Line class has even more creative combinations! The Youth and Adult Obstacle Courses present some interesting challenges, and what fun it is to cheer on your favorite entry. The Spinning Bee and Yarn Show takes place on Wednesday night.
Sheep are on display through Thursday within the Sheep Barn. Plan to bring your camera and catch these friendly critters as they interact with families and friends.
The Sportsman’s Building exhibit consists of several different groups displaying their interests in conserving wildlife, wetlands and the environment. This group includes the Massachusetts Environmental Police, The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, The Danvers Fish & Game Club, The Hamilton/Wenham Road & Gun Club, The Haverhill Hound Rod & Gun Club, The Gun Owners Action League, and The Plum Island Surf Casters.
The Essex County Farmyard is both an educational and entertainment venue for fairgoers. Standing around the fenced-in grass are, sometimes three-deep, they can watch kids as they try to climb to the top of the “Money Pole” for a cash prize, learn about the Essex County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit, watch hen flying and cock crowing contests and observe the shearing of sheep. Visitors may also walk through the Farmyard tent to visit with tiny piglets, sheep with their lambs, and other farm animals. Watch for the special Farm Animal Fun shows.
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