By Larry Claflin Jr.
— This article has been corrected since publication. To read the correction, please click here.
As the Topsfield Fair ventures into its 192nd season this autumn, it keeps up with the times. Organizers always look to move events around in order to please the fair's faithful customers.
The fair will be held Oct. 1 through 11 at the Topsfield Fairgrounds.
According to Sally O'Malley of the Topsfield Fair, two major changes will take place this year: The famous Musical Ride of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will return to perform through Oct. 8, and the ever-popular New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off will move to the arena on opening night.
Musical entertainment will include Chubby Checker (Oct. 3 and 4), the Beelzebubs, an a cappella group from Tufts University (Oct. 5), Peter Tork of The Monkees and his band Shoe Suede Blues (Oct. 6), Gloriana (Oct. 7), Uncle Kracker (Oct. 8), Emily Osment and Mitchel Musso from the Hannah Montana Show (Oct. 9), Boys Like Girls (Oct. 9), and many other national and regional acts.
Also, the Colgate Country Showdown (Oct. 2) has been expanded to include all of its New England finalists.
As always, the fair — known as the oldest agricultural fair in America — will host a midway, carnival rides, various food vendors, and countless agricultural and livestock exhibits.
Other new animals will entertain, such as The Great American Duck Race, throughout the fair, and Dock Dogs (Oct. 9-11), canines who compete to jump the farthest into a pool to retrieve a floatable object thrown into the water.
"Our theme this year is 'Proud to be Giving Back,'" said O'Malley, who mentioned Military Day (Oct. 5) and opportunities for Essex County children to attend free through school tours or "Read and Win" library contests.
Locals will be feted on Topsfield Night (Oct. 1), when Topsfield residents attend free, with advance registration.
"Topsfield Night has been extremely successful, and it's one way we try to give back to the people of Topsfield," O'Malley said. "We know they put up with a lot of traffic during the fair, and we like to include them. We like them to realize that this is their fair."
Topsfield Night will also include a fireworks show, she said.
IF YOU GO
What: Topsfield Fair
Where: Topsfield Fairgrounds
When: Oct. 1-11
Tickets: Available at www.topsfieldfair.org