SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 20, 2013

Fair promises a 'monster' opening weekend

By Cheryl Lecesse
STAFF WRITER

---- — The Topsfield Fair may be two weeks away, but organizers hope you “Make time for a great time.”

That’s the slogan for this year’s fair, which kicks off Friday, Oct. 4, and runs through Columbus Day.

On Opening Day, see gourds of unusual size during the 30th All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off, which starts at 4 p.m. in the Arena. The event attracts pumpkin growers — and fans — from across the region, all vying to have their homegrown creation sit on display for fair-goers to admire.

For the first time in fair history, last year’s weigh-off winner, grown by Ron Wallace of Greene, R.I., tipped the scales at more than 1 ton, setting a world record. Wallace’s giant set a high bar for fellow pumpkin growers, and on Oct. 4 both spectators and farmers alike will find out whether this year’s crop has fielded any contenders.

The following day, switch gears to giants of another kind — monster trucks, as the mammoth pickups make their return to the fair with two shows scheduled Saturday, Oct. 5, in the Arena. Four monster trucks — Krazy Train, Hot Tamale, AfterShock and Equalizer — will each “freestyle” at the shows, running over obstacles such as dirt piles, cars and minivans. “Pit parties,” for those who want an up-close-and-personal look, are scheduled after each show. Tickets are already on sale for this event.

And from Opening Day through the weekend, venture over to the Grandstand to watch Dock Dogs — dogs from the region competing in athletic events, all of which involve jumping off a dock and into a large pool of water. In one event, called Big Air, dogs run and jump off a dock after a toy that’s been tossed into the pool. In Big Air, it’s the distance of the jump that counts. Another event, Speed Retrieve, times dogs as they swim toward a toy. There’s also Extreme Vertical, in which the dog jumps off the dock to catch a bumper toy extended and hanging over the water. Dogs that compete in all three events are eligible for the Iron Dog competition, a canine triathlon in which the best times and distances from each event are tallied.

Anyone can enter a dog, although there are specific guidelines and requirements. All the information is available at www.dockdogs.com. Dog owners can also sign up their canine companions at the fair.

And, as always, the fair offers everything a traditional agricultural fair should — from tractor pulling and farm animals to live music and food of all kinds.

For more information about the fair, including a full schedule of events, visit www.topsfieldfair.org.