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On Friday afternoon, the carnival rides were quiet, but things will speed up this weekend at the Hillsborough County Agricultural Fair in New Boston. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER/Union Leader Correspondent)

September tradition

Hillsborough fair a drag and lots more

NEW BOSTON — While carnival workers did last-minute maintenance on their rides before the crowds showed up for the Hillsborough County Agricultural Fair on Friday, competitions were already underway featuring tractors, draft horses and some really big vegetables.

The fair, which runs through Sunday at 6 p.m., opened Friday afternoon, and though the crowd was sparse at the start, there was plenty going on.

In the pulling ring, Jim Brown boarded his 1956 Ferguson tractor and tried to match the machine's strength against a pile of massive concrete blocks. Pulling the blocks just over a foot was a major feat for the tractor and its operator.

Brown has been competing in tractor pulls since 1975.

"We're just playing and having fun," said Brown. "I'm just a dumb farmer with nothing else to do."

Brown competes at fairs several times a year. Sometimes luck is with him, and sometimes it isn't.

"A few weeks ago I won two second-place prizes," he said, "and last week I got nothing."

But Brown likes the fair in New Boston.

"I just love it here," he said. "I like the fair, I like the people, and I like the country."

In the main ring, draft horses were negotiating an obstacle course while dragging a pair of logs.

"It's supposed to simulate what they'd have to do in the woods," said Samantha Locke of Barnstead, who was preparing to compete with her team of horses.Draft horses were used a great deal in New Hampshire's timber industry, Locke said, and were responsible for getting felled trees out of the forest.
But Locke's horses don't have to work quite so hard, though she competes with them at all of New Hampshire's county fairs.
"I started out with a pony when I was 4," she said. "And I've been doing it ever since."

The fair, which includes a midway, live entertainment and animal shows, including dogs, sheep, rabbits and other farmyard favorites, opens today and Sunday at 9 a.m.

For more information visit www.hcafair.com.

nfoster@newstote.com



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