Submitted by Elizabeth Malloy, Executive Director, Haddam Historical Society
(August 25, 2023) — At the 111th Annual Haddam Neck Fair, which runs from September 1, 2023 to September 4, 2023, you can enter contests such as skillet throwing, Red-Neck Strongman and Woman, egg toss, and corn-hole.
Children can compete in watermelon eating (photo above), three-legged race, and pedal pull. A new contest this year is a power wheels event.
Friendly competitions have long been a part of the Fair. In the early years these events were called “Athletic Contests,” and included shot-put, fifty-yard dash and a run-hop-skip-jump and cost ten cents to enter each. Another early event was climbing the greased pole, which had a whopping prize of five dollars. The greased pole contest continued at the Fair for more than forty years and was phased out in the 1950’s. Later events included a potato race, obstacle course and two-mile cross country run.
The YMCA of Middletown was responsible for hosting the athletic games in the 1930’s and 1940’s and had various contests by age and weight. The Fair also sponsored a log- sawing contest in 1946, but contestants had to provide their own saws.
By the 1950’s the Fair added bubble-gum blowing, hula hoop, and blueberry pie eating contests. In 1956, Arthur Wood, age 68, proudly displayed the first-place medal he won for the high jump of 5’10” in 1911. We hope you can join the fun at the Haddam Neck Fair over Labor Weekend!
Photo by Elizabeth Malloy