Local Agricultural Fairs Showcase Rich Local Heritage
Multidisciplinary Learning Opportunities for Children
Much more than a midway and a ticket-per-ride miniature amusement park, Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs honor the generations-old traditions of agriculture, self-sufficiency, and resiliency in rural communities. A tradition for many generations, agricultural fairs showcase the unique skills and talents specific to rural life in western Massachusetts – and in doing so, fairs offer families the opportunity to not only celebrate local culture, but to actively participate in preserving it. The exhibition halls at agricultural fairs are always filled with locally grown fruits and vegetables, homemade and home-preserved canned goods, handmade quilts and clothing, and beautiful photographs, paintings, and crafts created by local artists. With many exhibition categories reserved specifically for youngsters, exhibition halls offer families the opportunity to share their own work, projects, and produce with others – and the opportunity to share the active role that they have in preserving local culture.
While some of the categories that children can enter require a long-term commitment (like raising livestock or growing a garden), there are many exhibition categories that call for the submission of things that children have likely created during the past year. Items such as paintings created in a school art class, nature collections created during summer travels, or a scarf knitted on a winter snow day can all be submitted to a fair’s exhibition hall – allowing children to show off their hard work and skills, without necessarily requiring them to create a project specifically for the fair. Each fair has its own list of categories – and some fairs have more opportunities for children to exhibit than others. Be sure to do a close reading of each fair’s rules and regulations, as well as their exhibition categories, before planning to submit items. Some fairs have some very unique and interesting exhibition categories – and opportunities for supporting multidisciplinary learning by exhibiting items abound! Fair season begins in August and continues into October. Check out these western Massachusetts fairs for opportunities to showcase children’s unique skills and talents!