Recently I went to visit Woody Lancaster of Topsfield, who won the Giant Pumpkin competition in 2013. I had never seen a Giant Pumpkin being grown before, my pumpkin experience up until this point was picking one out at a local farm from my house around Halloween. When talking with Woody, I soon realized I knew absolutely nothing about what it takes to grow a winning pumpkin. It made me wonder how many times I had gone to the Topsfield Fair, and stared at the Giant Pumpkin without realizing all that goes into growing it? And if this was the case for me, how many other people didn’t know these facts either? So if you are interested in growing a Giant Pumpkin for next year’s fair, here are some basic tips that should help you get started.
- Giant Pumpkins start growing in mid-April! The pumpkins will usually grow for around 5 months until they are ready for the fair in October! While they grow at a fast rate for the first few months, around September they start to get older and therefore begin to grow less.
- Because these pumpkins start growing in April, the temperature is still too cold for the pumpkins to properly grow. Woody uses a mini greenhouse to heat up the soil for the pumpkin, then adds additional heat at night. Around June 1st, he takes away the mini greenhouse.
- Pumpkins get bad sunburns too! Because the pumpkin is growing so rapidly, the skin needs to be soft and flexible to allow for it to grow almost 30 pounds in one day! The sun can make the skin hard and cracked, which can ruin a good pumpkin. Woody covers his pumpkin with a sheet to help keep the pumpkin’s skin from burning!
- The vine of the pumpkin can be manipulated to grow whichever way you want. Once you plant your seed, the vine spreads out on the ground and often grows to be over ten feet long! From once you plant your pumpkin, you can decide which direction you want it to grow, from left, right, straight, backwards, whatever you want it’s up to you!
- Most farmers grow more than one Giant Pumpkin a summer! Woody for example has two pumpkins growing, but he knows people that grow three or four! To grow a really good pumpkin, you have to spend at least a couple hours a day taking care of it, even more depending on how many pumpkins you have!
- You can actually take leaves from your vines, and send them to a lab to be tested! The labs essentially juice the leaves and root, and tell what nutrients your pumpkin is lacking, or if there is too much of one nutrient. While a lot of farming is guesswork, this helps take a lot of the guessing out so you can focus on what your pumpkin needs!
- Pumpkins are a living organism. Sometimes it is easy to forget that pumpkins need food and water to survive, and are very delicate. There are now many biological sprays that now help your pumpkin’s immune system fight off fungus and other bug attacks itself!
So at this year’s fair, when looking at the Giant Pumpkin winner, remember that a lot of time and work goes into making that pumpkin so great. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s not something that just happens with no work put it!
NBC’s The Voice winner, Danielle Bradbery, is coming to the 2014 Topsfield Fair! The seventeen-year-old country music singer from Cypress, Texas, sung her way into our hearts when she won Season Four of The Voice in 2013. She holds the title of being the youngest contestant ever to win the show.
While on the show The Voice, Danielle was selected to be on Blake Shelton’s team. He called her “the most important artist to ever walk across The Voice stage.” She eventually won the show by singing “Maybe it was Memphis” by Pam Tillis and “Born to Fly” by Sara Evans. After the show she made surprise appearances on Shelton’s TEN TIMES CRAZIER tour last summer and previous opened for Brad Paisley’s BEAT THIS WINTER tour. She just wrapped up touring with Hunter Hayes’ on his WE’RE NOT INVISIBLE tour.
Danielle is known for her single “The Heart of Dixie” which was released on her debut studio album Danielle Bradbery on November 25, 2013. Currently, she is signed with Big Machine Records and her song “My Day” was featured in the Sochi 2014 Olympics where she was chosen to be “the voice” of the games promotional campaign.
Come see Danielle Bradbery at the 2014 Topsfield Fair on Thursday October 9 at 7:00 PM at the Fair’s Grandstand!
Here at the fair, we know a lot of people are on a budget! We decided to put our best ideas together to come up with a list of tips for you to have the most fun, without spending too much money!
1) Buy Pre-Sale Tickets
Pre-Sale tickets are only $9.00 and can be used on a weekday or weekend. If you buy tickets the week of the fair, weekday tickets are $11.00 and $15.00 for a weekend ticket. That means you’ll save at least $2.00 if you choose to go on a weekday and $6.00 if you go on a weekend! By purchasing a presale ticket you’re not committing to a specific day, just committing to actually coming to the fair! But remember, children under 8 years old are free to enter the fair, so don’t buy a ticket if you don’t need to!
Did you know you can also buy ride tickets and food vouchers before the fair starts? You can get 10 rides for only $24. If you buy ride tickets at the fair you’ll pay around the same price but you’ll usually need 3 or more tickets per ride! That almost $30 of savings per ride strip! You can buy a food voucher for $6.00 and redeem it for $8.00 worth of food at select vendors on the fairgrounds!
2) Fun Free Activities
While many people go to the Topsfield Fair to play carnival style games or go on rides, majority of the fair is free and educational! You can check out the Cider Mill and watch cider donuts being made or visit Kiddie Korral which includes a playground and coloring activities! You can look at some wild animals in the Sportmen’s Building, hold a baby chick in the Poultry Barn, watch a milking demonstration in the Cattle Barn, and try free samples of maple syrup, and enjoy our entertainment (most of which is free!) There is also the Agricultural Adventure this year, where you can visit different plants and animals and win a prize!
3) Plan Ahead
Knowing what you want to spend ahead of time can be a money saver when entering the fair. If you have a certain amount you plan on spending, don’t immediately head straight for the games, rides and food. Only bring to the fair the amount of money you want to spend so you’re not tempted to spend more than you want. You can make your money last by walking through the fair and checking out all the different tables and tents. Relax and enjoy the atmosphere for a bit instead of going straight to the fried dough!
4) Earn Free Tickets!
Did you know by having your children read this summer, they can get into the fair for free? The program is partnered with over 45 local libraries and is designed to give children and incentive to start reading this summer. A prize package includes 1 admission ticket, 1 hot dog and drink, 2 ride tickets and a read & win ribbon! Contact your local library for more information! Another great way to earn free tickets, is to follow us on Facebook and Twitter! Leading up to the fair we give away coupons for free food, parking, admission, and concert tickets! Not everyone can win, but it wouldn’t hurt to enter!
5) Bring a Picnic!
What a lot of people don’t know is that you can bring food into the fair! So if fried food doesn’t appeal to you, feel free to pack a peanut butter and jelly or whatever will fit in your cooler and bring lunch in!
6) Save on Parking!
If you want to save some cash on parking, there are two main ways to solve this problem. First, you can come on opening day when parking is free for everyone! If you can’t make it for opening day, then we suggest coming on a weekend and using the satellite parking! It saves you $5.00 on the actual parking fee, and even more in gas! This can also help you avoid traffic, which can therefore help save you a lot of frustration!
This year’s theme is brought to you by Jenna Melvin from Danvers, MA and could not be more perfect for this year’s fair!
In a literal sense, “Let the Good Times Grow” applies to the agriculture part of the fair. After all, we are the world’s oldest agricultural fair. It represents all the great things we have that need to grow for the fair to be a success. What would we do if all the pumpkins for the Giant Pumpkin contest just didn’t grow this year? Or your home grown vegetables didn’t grow along with the entire flower exhibit? So many great things that we love at the fair need to grow for us to enjoy them, so literally, let all the good times grow!
But in a figurative sense, this year’s theme means a lot more than just agriculture. Many fairgoers have grown up with the fair, including myself. I’ve gone to the fair since as far back as I can remember, my parents walking me around the fair until I could walk myself. I have pictures next to the giant pumpkin from every year. And when I went away to college two years ago, I brought many of my out of state friends to the fair so they could experience it as well.
If you’ve been to the fair in the past five years you have probably seen Mac running around somewhere. Mac has been with the fair since she was five and competed in the junior vegetable competition with her mom. Her mom went on to be Mrs. Essex County in 2004, and started volunteering for the fair. To Mac it only made sense to begin volunteering at the fair too. When she was only twelve she created the Topsfield Fair facebook page, before she was allowed to have a facebook page for herself. The facebook page now has over 50,000 fans. There are few people who are incredibly passionate about what they do, and Mac is one of them. She grew up with the fair, and is dedicated to making each year’s fair better than the last.
The Topsfield Fair is a symbol of fall in the North Shore, around Columbus Day Weekend it is all anyone can talk about. Generations have come to the fair, passing on the tradition to their kids and grandkids.
We want to keep the good times growing at this year’s fair, so if you’ve come to the fair in the past, bring someone new. And if you’ve never checked out the Topsfield Fair before, stop by and see why we’re so great!
Happy Entertainment Tuesday from the Topsfield Fair! Want to win FREE pit party passes to this year’s monster truck show? All you have to do is purchase tickets to our Monster Truck Show before 9PM tonight (August 12th) and you’ll be entered into a random drawing for pit party passes!
The trucks will take over the arena on Saturday, October 4, 2014. The first pit party will take place at 2:30 and 5:30. Here you will be able to get behind the scenes access and take pictures with the monster truck drivers!
The giant monster trucks will take on this year’s fair, crushing smaller vehicles and man made barriers. With a lineup of trucks that includes “The Illuminator” “Avenger” and “Brutus” this show will entertain the entire family.
You can purchase your tickets to this year’s show at http://www.topsfieldfair.org as well as find additional information about the show!
The 2014 Topsfield Fair is proud to announce that The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, more commonly known as “The Mounties,” are coming to the Fair’s Arena! Known for their red coats and Stetson hats, The Mounties are members of the federal and national police force of Canada who volunteer for musical ride duty after two years of active police work.
The Musical Ride is performed by a full troop of thirty-two riders and horses plus the member-in-charge and consists of intricate movements, figures, and cavalry drill all choreographed to music. The performers go through months of training, practice, and riding in order to make the performer and horse act as one.
Come see The Mounties ride on October 5 – 10 at the 2014 Topsfield Fair Arena! Check out our website for more details: www.topsfieldfair.org.
Come see the Axe Women Loggers of Maine at the 2014 Topsfield Fair! These all female timber sports athletes travel throughout North America entertaining at fairs, sports shows, and festivals.
This group of six world titleholders are champion axe throwers and choppers. Their skills include underhand chopping, standing block chopping, hot sawing, cross cut sawing, axe throwing and log rolling. Their diverse group comes to us all the way from Maine, Canada, Washington, Connecticut, and New York. They have performed at events such as the Springfield Sportsmen’s Show and are a featured attraction on QueenLatifah.com as well as on “The Queen Latifah Show.”
Come see their complimentary show in action on October 11, 12, and 13 at the Fair’s Grandstand. Axes will be flying and saws will be slicing at 10:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:30 PM, and 6:00 PM!