EAST AMWELL, NJ – For more than 500 Hunterdon people, it’s the biggest five days of the year.
It’s the Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair, running Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 22-26 at the Roger K. Everitt Fairgrounds here.
Whether showing sheep, demonstrating robots, performing with their horses or talking on stage about their projects, the nearly 375 members of county 4-H clubs will be involved. The fair is the highlight of their 4-H year. Besides the members themselves, the program includes more than 120 adult volunteers, plus the three dozen people who are involved in the Fair organization.
This is the 19th annual version of the summer event, held at 1207 Route 179 just south of Ringoes. It’s the successor to the renowned Flemington Fair.
Many shows are open for all residents of the Garden State to enter including a new one this year - the flower show.
One contest that always attracts scores of entries is the Biggest Specimen Show, for vegetables and fruits. A perennial favorite, it has 38 classes, ranging from the biggest beet to the longest carrot to the largest sunflower head. There's a class for what the judges determine is the "most unusual looking" vegetable.
The fair also has a show to select the best vegetable specimens, based on uniformity, quality and other attributes. For details on all shows, contests and Main Stage entertainment at the fair, go to the website, HunterdonCountyFair.com
Plenty of local talent will perform. "Tractor Dave" Bond, a Delaware Township farmer, and his Real Country band take the stage Thursday night. He and Roger Everitt, for whom the fairgrounds is named, were partners in a used farm machinery business. Everitt, who died in March 2017, was president of the Fair from its start.
Entertainer Dan "Dr. D" Torrone of Clinton, a former Hunterdon 4-H Sheep Club member, handles the Main Stage activities and has arranged a variety of acts and attractions each day and night.
Friday’s finale is a big fireworks show.
At various times, “Hunterdon’s Got Talent” on the Main Stage will have various area residents displaying their abilities in singing, playing instruments and more. And “4-H Live on Stage” features members demonstrating or discussing something related to their projects.
Tractors and trucks competing is a big part of the fair for many fans, and there will be contests four times. The traditional farm tractor pull starts Wednesday morning, and the night-time pull includes a class for pickup trucks. This year’s garden tractor pull, Saturday morning, ends with a new event, a blindfolded obstacle course event. The tractor driver is blindfolded and his or her partner sits in a cart pulled by the tractor, telling the driver which way to turn to avoid the marker cones.
Sunday afternoon, kids get to show off their leg power in the Pedal Tractor Pull, with the Fair providing the tractor. The Wednesday night pull is the only event with an additional charge, $5 per spectator.
There’s no general admission charge and Fair entry includes all the Main Stage shows. Parking is $10 per vehicle, with the money shared with the volunteer fire companies providing the personnel to supervise the parking fields.
Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. but closing at 5 p.m. on Sunday, the final day.