What started out many years ago as a small community fair has grown into an important annual autumn event in Connecticut. The Hebron Lions Club is the driving force behind the Hebron Harvest Fair, which is probably one of the largest events managed by any Lions Club in the state. The Lions Club recruits volunteers from throughout the community, making it a true all-town production. In keeping with the spirit of Lionism worldwide, proceeds in excess of expenses are donated to a variety of worthy activities throughout the area.
The gates opened at 4 p.m. on Sept. 4 with a variety of events, including a presentation by the UConn Equestrian Drill Team, a traditional demolition derby and a musical comedy team called Vick and Sticks. The Hebron Harvest Fair has come up with some unique demonstrations and displays that set it apart from many other fairs. Among these were the dock dogs and the goat obstacle course. Dock dogs featured canines that are water retrievers, predominately Labradors, diving off a dock into a large plastic pool and retrieving various objects. This unique event was sponsored by the Iams Pet Food Company. The dogs competed in at least four different categories which tested their agility in water retrieving. The pulling horses to competed on Friday, as did the antique tractors.
On Saturday morning, the ox drivers had the opportunity to show off their driving skills as they guided their oxen over an obstacle course with their pairs hitched to a cart. It was encouraging to see young teamsters do their thing with their well-trained animals keeping alive a long-standing New England tradition. Not every fair has the space necessary to accommodate the more heavy duty pulling tractors, but Hebron has an excellent 300-yard track for just that, in addition to a traditional pit for draft animals.
Throughout the day in the livestock area, goats and beef competed in showmanship classes to determine which animals represented the best of their particular breed.
On Sunday, the fair featured both open and junior dairy cattle shows. The oxen took over in the animal pulling ring, and for those who follow the really heavy duty tractor pulling, the New York State Tractor Pullers Association sponsored really high-powered competition among classes of tractors that one would never see on the farm. The folks who put on this fair go out of their way to find new and innovative attractions to set their fair apart from the many others taking place during this time of year.