BERLIN — The Berlin Lions Club’s 62nd Annual Berlin Fair will kick-off this Friday with many attractions, contests and tasty eats.
Since the inception of the Berlin Fair in 1948, residents agree the fair gets bigger and better with time. Sponsored by the Berlin Lions Club, former members began the fair as it looked for a major fundraising event for the town.
“They decided to sponsor an agricultural fair. They wanted to raise funds to help support community groups and organizations and worthwhile projects in our community,” said Peter Hansen, president of the fair and club member. “At that time, there were no
buildings on the fairgrounds. The fair was primarily outside, with a few tents set up. Over the years, buildings have been added and the fairgrounds have been expanded.”
This year’s Berlin Fair will include many attractions Hansen said. Entertainment will include Ryan Pelton, with an Elvis tribute on Friday evening, country singer Jake Owen on Saturday, and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees will entertain fairgoers on Sunday.
The fair will also include oxen and cattle pulls, tractor and truck pulls, Connecticut Cart Club racing, animal exhibits, junior exhibits, adult arts and crafts, and horse shows.
Carnival treats, homemade foods and preserves, and the fair’s famous apple fritters are just some of the many varieties that are a big part of the fair.
A vital part of the fair is family entertainment and attractions for children which include a baby contest, pie eating contest, Lucky Bob’s Juggling and Comedy family show, Michelle’s Magical Poodles, Frog Jump and Turtle Race, and the Racing Pigs.
new at the fair this year? A Connecticut Corsair engine will be on display. The Corsair is a huge 28-cylinder airplane engine that was developed here in Connecticut. In addition to the display, the engine will be fired two times per day.
“It is a spectacular sight. A group of aviation enthusiasts are trying to restore this plane that was developed around WWII and to remember the units here in Connecticut,” Hansen said. “It’s something we’ve never had here at the fair before.”
The fair is always sure to bring in a significant amount as it draws thousands of people. In keeping with traditions set by their
forefathers, club members on average donate $75,000 to $100,000 annually back to the town for various educational and community endeavors.
“Receipts from the fair vary greatly depending upon the weather,” Hansen said. “The Berlin Lions Club supports many organizations and activities in the Greater Berlin Community. These groups and organizations include youth sport activities such as Midget football, Little League baseball, and Babe Ruth Baseball, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Berlin High School graduation party, Manes & Motion, Berlin High School Close -Up, American Cancer Society, Oak Hill School, the YMCA, Scholarships,
American School for the Deaf, Berlin Volunteer Fire departments, Conn. Eye Research, Red Cross, Juvenile Diabetes, and Berlin Upbeat Program.”
This year the Berlin Lions Club made a commitment to support the development of an electronic music keyboard lab at Hubbard School. In addition, the Lions provide a $30,000 donation for gazebo for the new Veteran Park being developed in town.
Over the three-day weekend, the Berlin Fair is expected to draw between 90,000 and 100,000 people to the fairgrounds.