, Salem, MA

September 28, 2012

A range of activities at the Topsfield Fair

By Will Broaddus
Staff Writer

---- — The Topsfield Fair is always entertaining, with events that range from death-defying to funny to magical and back again.

Here are three examples of the variety of entertainment to be found at the fairgrounds on Route 1 in Topsfield:

The Flying Wallendas

This famous family of high-wire artists will perform in the Grandstand on the final weekend of the fair, from Saturday, Oct. 6, through Monday, Oct. 8.

Eight generations of Wallendas have performed in circuses. Karl Wallenda brought his troupe from Europe to the United States in 1928, where they appeared with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Karl Wallenda fell to his death in 1978, at age 73, while walking on a wire more than 120 feet off the ground in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

But the show goes on.

This past June, Nik Wallenda, great-grandson of Karl, became the first person to walk on a tightrope across Niagara Falls.

Racing ducks

Once these ducks have been released in their 16-foot lanes, they don’t paddle to the finish line — they scoot, in a hurry.

Throughout the day from Sunday, Sept. 30, through Monday, Oct. 8, the Great American Duck Race can be found along Grange Road. Participants can pick a duck, give it a name and then set it loose.

Watching a replay of these races in slow motion, you can see the ducks paddle with their wings as much as their webbed feet, and the combination of the two gives them incredible speed.

Splashing the water behind the ducks after they are released seems to make them swim faster.

Children’s magician

Magician Debbie O’Carroll, who specializes in magical theater for children, will perform her Trick or Treat Magic Show in the picnic area tomorrow; Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 3 and 4; and Saturday, Oct. 6, at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. in the picnic area.

It’s a show that combines stage magic, physical comedy and tap dancing with audience participation to get everyone in the mood for Halloween.

The audience, ideally ages 3 to 9, will imagine they are attending a ghostly party and pretend to trick or treat at a haunted house.

They will also be asked to design a magical costume and make sound effects for a silly nightmare.

If you go

What: 194th Topsfield Fair


Today through Monday, Oct. 8; daily 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Topsfield Fairgrounds, Route 1


Tickets on weekends, holidays and Friday, Oct. 5, $15; weekday tickets, Sept. 28 and Oct. 1 through 4, $11. Children under 8 with an adult free at all times. Parking $10.

More information: Call 978-887-5000 or visit