New Hampshire’s Long Love-Hate Relationship with Its Agricultural Fairs
The first agricultural fair in North America was held in what is now Londonderry in 1722, and it would become a wildly popular event lasting for generations until it came to be so dominated by gambling, flim-flam, and other "scandalous dimensions" that the legislature revoked its charter in 1850. But fairs have always had strong supporters and eventually the state came around to appropriating modest sums to help them succeed. Temperance groups and others would continue to attack the fairs on moral grounds and their close connection to horse racing was a chronic flashpoint. Steve Taylor will discuss the ups and downs of the fairs down through years and how public affection for rural traditions helps them survive in contemporary times.