During Labor Day weekend, excitement passed through eastern Connecticut as people prepared for the Woodstock Fair. The fair provides not only a fun family-friendly event for agriculture and craft lovers to attend, but it also provides vendors and farms the opportunity to display their business and sell products.

With this year celebrating the 162nd year of the Woodstock Fair, the event has definitely made a great impression on the residents of New England.

The fair began Sept. 1, but the organizers of the Woodstock Fair have been hyping up the event since the end of June on both their website, woodstockfair.com and their Facebook page. Woodstock Agricultural Society First Vice President and Woodstock Fair Entertainment Director Marc Allard posted videos throughout July and August to slowly introduce the performers, vendors and events that would happen at the fair.

Allard highlighted some of the amazing staff members running the Woodstock Fair, such as Emilie Hebert, the Woodstock Fair cattle supervisor. Hebert mentioned how at the Woodstock Fairgrounds, there are “over 200 [head of cattle] in the barn all weekend long, rotating in and out.” This includes various breeds of dairy cattle and beef cattle that are used for livestock shows.

Last year was the first year that goats were brought back to the Woodstock Fairgrounds in many years and in 2023 they decided to host a goat show. This provided an opportunity for the audience to watch the goats interacting with their owners instead of just playing in a pen as they were last year.

Getting close to ag at the Woodstock Fair

The livestock shows provided a lot of diversity, with sheep shows, goat shows, horse shows, sheep shearing demonstrations and even a dairy cattle costume class contest. Photo by Kelsi Devolve

As Bailey Hirschboeck, the goat show supervisor, explained in her preview video in August, “We’re going to showcase a lot of different breeds and all of their purposes. We’re going to show some really cool pet classes… and lots of fun events with kids showing and adults showing.”

The livestock shows provided a lot of diversity for onlookers to see, such as sheep shows, goat shows, horse shows, sheep shearing demonstrations and even a dairy cattle costume class contest. In addition to the livestock shows, they had a pull ring that showcased horse pulls, pony pulls, ox pulls, tractor pulls and even open working oxen.

One highlight at the Woodstock Fair is the large variety of vendors. This year alone, the fair had nearly 40 new vendors from food to wood products, jewelry, face painting and more.

One big attraction at the fair was the tents full of award-winning vegetables. Some of the impressive winners in the tents were a 1,243.5-lb squash, a 100-lb. watermelon and a 149.19-inch-tall gourd.

One aspect of the Woodstock Fair that many of the attendees will remember was the birth of four new calves, with two of them being born during the hours of the fair and seen live in the “Barnyard Babies Birthing Center” for passersby to watch. The four calves welcomed on Labor Day weekend were Ferdinand, “Bart” Bartholoeme, Jennie and Eugene.

The Woodstock Fair is such a success each year because they are constantly giving their attendees the opportunity to get closer to the ag industry by bringing new shows, animals and events. For those who don’t have any other access to learn about these animals and to interact with these animals, the Woodstock Fair is critically important.

by Kelsi Devolve