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Showing off agricultural efforts

Stratham Fair is a draw when it's all about the farm animals

STRATHAM — Things can get a little hairy when you’re trying to use clippers on a cow in all this heat and humidity.

Just ask Katie Soucy.

The 17-year-old from Hopkinton who will be showing her dairy cow, Mistress, in the Stratham Fair this weekend said the heat and humidity causes the fur to cling to her arms.

“It’s sticky, and when it’s really, really hot it really sticks,” she said Friday as she and other members of the Merrimack-based Merrimack River Valley Dairy Club took a break in an open cow barn where a light breeze blew through to offer some relief.

Fairgoers did their best to ignore Friday’s heat and tried to enjoy the 46th annual fair, which kicked off Thursday and runs through Sunday at Stratham Hill Park.

The heat forced officials to shut down carnival rides for part of Friday afternoon for safety reasons, but organizers said they expected things to get back to normal by evening as temperatures cooled a bit and crowds returned for the Miss Stratham Fair pageant.

The fair is expected to attract an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 visitors by the end of the weekend, with Sunday probably being the busiest day because the weather should be cooler by then.

The fair is a fundraiser for the Stratham Volunteer Fire Department and can bring in as much as $50,000 in a good year, according to fair Chairman Francisco Marin, also a volunteer firefighter.

Many of the food stands are run by firefighters and their extended families.

“It’s a community fair. It’s an agricultural fair. 4-H is a big part of us,” Marin said.

Ten-year-old Brooke Fifield of Franklin, a member of the Merrimack Dairy Club, was looking forward to showing her cow at the fair.

“I just like putting everything together and making her pretty,” she said.

Stratham fire Lt. Tim Slager, one of the fair’s directors, said he’s enjoyed helping out since he moved to town. He arrived in 1988 and started volunteering the next year.

“If it wasn’t fun I wouldn’t be doing it,” he said.

With more heat expected today, Gino Cosimini figured he was in the right business. A manager at the White Mountain Creamery stand, Cosimini said the mango sorbet was a big seller at the fair, and for those looking for an ice cream fix, Oreo cookie seemed to do the trick.

“This weekend is going to be crazy,” he said.


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