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My Turn: Back in the old days, the Hopkinton Fair was fun

My grandfather was a proud director of the Hopkinton State Fair in the late 1970s and early ’80s, back when folks thrived on the traditions and values of having a small town community state fair.

He enjoyed helping provide a fun and family-friendly atmosphere for people young and old. The fair would bring joy and happiness to attendees year after year.

I can remember looking forward to some of the traditional shows and events that the fair would bring to town, such as the demolition derby run by the rescue squad, truck pulls and drag races, incredible food, the magic of Ron Diamond and the Methodist Church food booth, which I worked at for several years as a youngster. This has all changed thanks to money, greed and the board of directors that is running this fair into the ground.

This year was the first in 34 years that the fair was not five days long – and there was no “Townie Night” either.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Townie Night has been a tradition among local fairgoers. The night before opening day of the fair, the gates would open and the food would be frying, the cows mooing and Hopkinton residents swarming. Some may assume that this was a way for people to get into the fair without paying the entry fee, but that was not the case.

Those of us who grew up here did this year after year so we could see friends, relatives, neighbors and acquaintances in the same place. It was a gathering of townies.

Last week on Thursday night, I entered the gates of the fairgrounds with some friends, wide-eyed and blindly expecting that the rumors weren’t true. We walked up and down the walkways: Nothing open, no one in sight. No commotion, no laughs and no conversation. The fair was a ghost town.

With no petting zoo, open barns or food, it was a depressing evening for the few of us who went hoping for more.

Not only does eliminating Townie Night hurt the folks in town who attend, it hurts the vendors as well.

They were told a week before opening that they were not allowed to open the night before the fair.

It seems that greed and money are taking over the Hopkinton State Fair. This isn’t the fair we grew up with. This isn’t what the founding association expected when it launched the fair in 1915. Bring back the fair we used to know and love.

(Steve Lux Jr. lives in Hopkinton.)

Legacy Comments2

Steve, a very well spoken letter. I think we all long for some of the times that have passed, I know I am one. But things change and not always for the better. I think an overhaul is long overdue and there is a major identity problem with what now is the hopkinton State Fair. I hate to admit it but, one of the banner days as a parent I had was the year that my kids were old enough to go to the fair on their own. Sorry to feel that way but I probably haven't been to the fair in 20 years. However I feel comfortable in the belief that if I close my eyes and picture it, it would still be the same today as I remember it. (just with cell phones) The fair is a part of town whether I enjoy it or not, but I think the issue is deeper than just a loss of townie night, whatever it takes it should be fixed.

Well said, Steve.

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