Home Valley Advocate 99th Time’s the Charm: Heath Fair Runs Aug. 19-21

99th Time’s the Charm: Heath Fair Runs Aug. 19-21

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Nicole Glabach, of Leyden, lies with two young cows from Bree-Z-Knoll farm in Leyden: Fiesta, born in February and Flair, born in March, Saturday August 22, 2015 at the Heath Fair. Matt Burkharrt photo, for the Recorder

Fair Play

Family farms are as American as baseball, or a hot apple pie cooling on a breezy windowsill. And just like bases, or pies, farms get stolen. Large-scale agribusiness has helped to precipitate a decline in traditional and small-scale farming in this country over the past 80 years. While the average farm size has more than doubled during that time, the total number of American farms has fallen from more than 6 million in 1935 to roughly 2 million in 2012, according to the UDSA Census of Agriculture.

Like good New Englanders, we do our best to hold steady. The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources counts 45 agricultural fairs scheduled for 2016, not too bad for a state with 351 cities and towns. So there are plenty of opportunities to check out a few fairs this summer — and not a whole lot of excuses to stay home, especially if you love sunshine, good music, corny rides, beautiful animals, and filling food (if you ask us, August might as well be called National Fried Dough Month).

The Heath Fair is this week, and it always delivers. Expect food, bingo, parades, tractor and truck pulls, square dancing, fireworks, demonstrations on pickling, dog herding, sheep shearing, seed saving, and beekeeping, horse draws, goat, sheep, and cattle shows, firefighters barbecuing chicken, classic cars, wagon rides, and live music from The Lonesome Brothers, Fancy Trash, Lonely Heartstring Band, Twisted Pine, Moonshine Holler, Appalachian Still, and the Shelburne Falls Military Band.

 99th Annual Heath Fair: Friday, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. $6-$8; free for children under 10. Heath Fairgrounds, 9 West Hosmer Road, Heath. heathfair.org.

  — Hunter Styles,  [email protected]