Coolidge Hall is the place to be during the Topsfield Fair. This spacious building, located close to the center of the fairgrounds, becomes a showcase for area exhibitors during the fair for their fine arts, handcrafts, and cooking entries from the various baking contests that the fair offers. The 40-foot stage is a focal point that bustles with music and entertainment throughout the fair.
Within the kitchen, the Canning Department’s exhibit can also be found. The winner’s case displays prized blue ribbons for jellies, jams, pickles and more! There are over 80 categories and many of the exhibitors also grow their own produce before they start their canning process. You’ll be wishing you could have a sample of some ribbon winners!
The Topsfield Fair Fine Art showcases artwork from over 300 area artists, both amateur and professional. There is a children’s division that allows entrants as young as 4 to enter, bringing them an increased awareness of art and allowing them to see their exhibit when they visit the fair. The Professional artists can also display their work in the Fine Art Sales room, which allows them to price their work and give visitors the opportunity to purchase art. Artists are also available during the fair in demonstrations of watercolor painting, drawing and more!
The Crafts Division can be seen throughout Coolidge Hall. The hand sewn quilts hang from the ceiling and the handcraft displays showcase knitting, jewelry, and other works from local artisans. There are demonstrators within the hall showing their talents of lace making, quilting, stain glass work, woodworking and more!
An open display kitchen is constantly in use, whether for judging the baking contests or demonstrations. The most popular competition is the Topsfield Fair Apple Pie Contest, which can sometimes feature over 30 different pies! The smell of freshly baked bread also wafts out of the ovens and fills the entire hall with a homespun aroma. During the fair, visitors can also purchase the warm loaves of oatmeal, raisin, and honey-wheat bread.
Coolidge Hall is also home to our Amateur Winemaking exhibit. Sponsored by Alfalfa Farm in Topsfield, this display showcases the fine wines of local winemakers along with their creative ideas for wine labels.
Each year, the annual Mrs. Essex County Pageant is held on the second Sunday of the fair. Contestants must be married and currently living within Essex County in order to participate in this event. A winner is crowned and she will then represent the Essex Agricultural Society (Topsfield Fair) for the following year. In 2020, it will mark their 50th Anniversary.
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