What's Your Opinion: Cars to Replace Crafts at Durham Fair

Robert's Dodge is moving to the town green this year, along with the giant pumpkins and tractors.


An annual tradition at the Durham Fair is coming to an end this year.

The craft tent, which was erected on the town green in the weeks leading up to the fair and signaled the fair's arrival, is being replaced this year by Robert's Dodge.

The craft tent will move to the area just east of the medical building.

What's your opinion of the move? Will you miss the craft tent being on the town green? 

Lisa Larsen September 16, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Even though it is a good idea to get the crafts into an area that won't flood,I fear that the local non-profit booths near the Green will lose money with this new arrangement.The items that will be on the Green won't draw a lot of people. Perhaps next year the Green would be a great place for the Kids Place.Lisa Larsen
nana of 5 September 16, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I agree with Joe Tool. Time for a big change. It should not be a life long office, 2 years and you are out of that position. New blood is needed asap.Robert Dodge is not even apart of this town.
Chuck Stengel September 16, 2012 at 02:36 PM
The charm of the Fair and our town are lost as we foster these commercial interests.
Russ Parmelee September 16, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Forgive me for remembering when a Ferris Wheel was once the main attraction on the green and beckoned all to the Fair. I agree with most of the comments that we are in some way forsaking our heritage by letting "for profit" entities become the new face of the Durham Fair!
A Neighbor September 16, 2012 at 03:07 PM
It's awful that the most commercial thing should take prominent notice on our town green. I'm sure they are extremely happy to be in that spot, but I think Lisa's idea of the kids tent being in that spot is a very good idea! The corn booth will loose money now probably, but hopefully people are used to them being there and won't forget to get the best corn and best value for food at the fair. The charm and face of the Durham Fair is rapidly changing and over the past few years has really evolved into another Big E like someone else has already mentioned. It's sad in many ways. Is there a way to stop it? I don't have the answer, but I hope that the people in charge really try to preserve that and keep in mind what the good people of this town think because without us this event couldn't happen. But maybe with more big commercial interests that wouldn't matter because they could hire outsiders with all the profits they make from ever increasing ticket prices and advertising, right? I'll still be at "The Big D" all weekend, as will my out-of-town friends and family, but it is getting more and more difficult to love it as much as I used to.
A Neighbor September 16, 2012 at 03:12 PM
And everyone, PARK at EPIPHANY CHURCH! We need all the help we can get!
Wendy Fiore September 16, 2012 at 03:34 PM
The fair association donates all sorts of money to many town causes. And in this economy and the craft tent practically empty last year I can see why they would accept the Dodge offer. I think there are going to be "bucket" rides up there or something to attract people up there. I'd hold off on judgement before seeing what the association does with the presentation of the green. Many commented on the age and an expiration of the members. I'd counter with given the average age many members remember the fair from their childhood and are not opposed to bringing back nostalgia. But they are faced with financial constraints just like the rest of us. (typing on phone in car...please excuse any errors)
Michael Hayes (Editor) September 16, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Wendy brings up a point often missed. Earlier this year the fair association gave out five (5) $5,000 scholarships. http://patch.com/A-vbgl
nana of 5 September 16, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Big deal without all the volunteers they could not do that.We make the money for them. I like Lisa idea. Their financial constraints,may not be at all if they don't wise up.
Katy Forline September 16, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Understanding the feelings of all of the above comments, I strongly suggest that those who care about the future of the fair -and the opportunity that the fair provides for many of our town's non-profits to make most of their annual budgets - please volunteer to become members of the fair association if you have time. It is not a private company, but a democratically run volunteer organization in itself and, as any such organization, always open to new helpful members. We can choose to spread ,which is bad for town morale or be part of the solution to the challenges the association faces every year, both logistically and financially. Let's have a great fair for our great little town!!
Karin Thody September 16, 2012 at 06:03 PM
To Katy Forline- Well said!
Bill September 17, 2012 at 12:14 AM
The Fair Association will not listen to the non profit booths at the top of the Fair..They and the for profit booths have suffered less sales and profit , the last five years , when the shuttle buses and pedestrian traffic was redirected to the whites gate and down the old emergeny road to the south of the green...The Fair should direct the Middlefield shuttle buses to the north end of the green, and the Guilford shuttles to the south end of the green and allow pedestrian traffic on town hall road to funnel down the road at the center of the green into the fair like it was for many years...this was brought to there attention many times the last few years and i would like to hear from the fair assoc why they won't go back to the way it was...Michael ,,maybe you can get an answer,,,how about talking to the vendors and the fair assoc. and see what they have to say about this....maybe they will make a change...It's frustrating when they won't listen or give you an answer...40 year non profit Volunteer.....
edmund dantes September 17, 2012 at 01:16 AM
I have no problem with a commercial presence at the fair, and having them on the green. If the tractors and pumpkins are there also, that creates a sufficiently "agricultural" mood.
Scott Wheeler September 17, 2012 at 02:06 AM
My best "PG" memory of the fair was when I was a freshman and right after going through the gates Friday we went to see Crusher the Monster Lobster! Paid our 50 cents or dollar and there infront of us was 34 pounds of finger crushing glory, Crusher was magnificent as he laid there in his tank while the owner poured over his loudspeaker to come see "the beast"! Well Crusher was on the town green and for that fair he was the place we would tell friends and parents where to meet. I miss Crusher today as he was what the fair was about to me. Along with the awesome Lime Rickie booth, no not that farce that is there now, things have disappeared from the fair that I loved. Simple basic fair items are being pushed out; I know of many small shops that cannot paid the rent any longer to be there. I do enjoy the animal barns still and now and then I find something worth buying like my dog's leash and collar but everything else just leaves an empty feeling of years past. Seeing Hemi soccer mobiles in the place where crusher once brought great memories is a pill hard to swallow.
Just my opinion September 17, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! We need to think back in time to when the Durham fair represented Middlefield, Durham and the surrounding areas agriculture and the skills of the farmers and their families. I know the family farm so to speak is a thing of the past however we still have very proud farmers as well as gardeners, cooks, photographers, as well as crafters who want to display their items for all to see. It was a way for us to share our history with children and grandchildren. Now each year something else is removed parking at White farm used to be a highlight of getting to the fair. Gone is that parking, How about the shuttle bus ride to the top of the fair grounds so you could meander down to the bottom where the midway awaits so many visitors. Sadly we lost 2 buildings due to mother natures wrath which will also cut into foot traffic from top to bottom. For the elderly and handicapped walking from the bottom of the fair grounds to the top can be impossible and for many it will stop them from even attempting to get to the top. The non-profits at the top of the hill have been hit not only by the terrible economy but now remove the foot traffic from top to bottom. What happened to focusing on the little things that make the fair, the fair? I know many hours are put in by the association however non-profits put in many also. I have volunteered for many year at the fair and find it appalling to see less and less about agriculture and more and more about profit.
Just my opinion September 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM
I wonder why not have a nice big public meeting where the residents of Middlefield and Durham and other towns who participate in this huge annual fair together and ask for suggestions. A roller coaster is not the answer I am pretty sure it will cost extra. I can only say I wish the fair could do a retro revival where things from the past are brought back. I know the association gives scholarships and they do a huge amount of work. however if they don't listen to the public there might not be a fair to volunteer to help with. The youth department is less than half what it was in the past. I used to volunteer there when the object was to attract as many children as possible that appears to not be the case any more. It is not only the youth department either Photography and baking as well. Less entries mean less people who will be purchasing exhibitors passes and no reason for them to attend the fair. We are one of the largest Agricultural Fairs and it seems to be less and less about agriculture and more and more about the money. I wish they would go back and look at yester year and bring back some of the thing they removed. Please tell them to stop growing in the wrong direction. Karen Thody I know you do a lot of work and for that I thank you. Maybe there are more people out there who will hear what is being said. Please bring back the shuttles to the top of the fair to start to return the foot traffic at the top of the fair.
me September 17, 2012 at 03:11 PM
oh for the good old days. When we could enjoy the Fair and could afford to go.
Marilyn Horn September 17, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I agree with so many of the above comments. Sadly, I don't think a car lot is the face of the Fair that I want to see on the green!
Middlefield Resident September 18, 2012 at 02:08 AM
The fair used to be run by the local non profit organizations. It is a shame that they are not helping us, not listening to us, and treat us worse every year. First they changed the traffic flow to not drop anyone off at the top by the library, now this. It seems that the fair association does not want to help the local organizations, and is more concerned with making money. Last year, many members of these local organizations joined the fair association, but nothing has worked. I don't think you will be seeing many more local non-profit's in the next few years, as the fair becomes unmanageable.
Middlefield Resident September 18, 2012 at 02:12 AM
couldn't agree more, we've had the same problems at our booth too. it's getting progressively worse and worse every year
Just my opinion September 18, 2012 at 11:34 AM
I f the association and people doing the planning just listen they would know we want to stay a local agricultural fair not become a replica of the BIG E. I know countless volunteer hours go into planning however if so many are unhappy because they feel like no one is listening maybe they are right. I hope this is not the last year for a lot of the non profits because if it is I know I will not support the fair in the future. My family goes to support the non profits and we make it a point not to purchase foods from the commercial vendors because we want to help out our local non profit groups. Please someone listen and make changes for the best for those who have been there from the start it would be terrible to lose so much just because no one wants to hear what others are saying. In closing I would like to extend my thanks to all who volunteer be it at the fair with a fire department, school, ambulance service or any other volunteer organization you are the heart and sole of America.
no name September 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM
So let me see if I understand this, For a family of 3, $5.00 to park, $30.00 to get in the gate ( I have one that is under the age limit). Two ride bracelets $40.00. That's $75.00 to walk in the gate and I haven't fed anyone yet. And that does not include the roller coaster bracelet. What happened to the good old days when Friday was "Durham Day " and your parents let you walk around with your friends and met at "the Little League booth" for dinner. Back then at least your parents could afford to "sneak "you more money when the other parent wasn't looking. Now you hear the kids screaming that they can't get what they want, and the parents saying, "we aren't coming next year,it's to expensive"!!! This fair used to be about the animals and the tracker pulls. I grew up in town and I think it's a shame!!! I have put my "fair" share into the fair over the years and I think next year I may not attend the fair.
nana of 5 September 19, 2012 at 02:17 PM
you are so right. the average family has to save to go to the fair. it almost makes me not want to be a part of it. I would not let anyone of my family ride the roller coaster,these things are not stable when moved from place to place no matter how much they are inspected.just another money making thing.
Rosemarie Querns September 20, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Have a meeting with the townies? That's a good idea, but they would never do that! This event isn't a democracy and they would never entertain the idea of letting anyone but their committees dictate what happens. Before PATCH, we never knew what changes were occuring until the fair happened. But, I do think that suggestion of letting townspeople express opinions and ideas is a healthy way to get a good cross section of what people here want and how they feel. They wouldn't need to take action, but it would act like a catalyst to allow the flow of new ideas and possibilities to circulate more freely. It would get them thinking in possibly new directions.
Brigid September 20, 2012 at 06:27 PM
If memory serves me correctly, the buses stopped shuttle service by the library after the tragic accident several years ago. At that time, the state police, who are in charge of traffic flow, were required by the state to submit a safety plan to avoid such tragedies in the future. Part of that plan was the elimination of bus service on Main Street. So you need to place the blame on the police in this particular case.
Brigid September 20, 2012 at 06:38 PM
As a resident who lives near the green I am very grateful that for the past few years I ‘ve been able to 'Get out of Dodge' for Durham Fair weekend. And this year, since Robert's Dodge will set up on the green, that decision is even more appropriate. I will not have to look at a car lot and I will not have to listen to the state cops on the corner behaving like Neanderthals. A win-win situation for me. I hope it works out well for the non-profits.
Just my opinion September 20, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Let's see how happy you are with the cars on the green if we get nasty weather because those dealer ships are not going to risk new cars for a fair. I went by the green today and it is empty and doesn't look like the Durham Fair as we all know it. I wonder how it would be if they moved the midway up there. I would love to see how much traffic that would bring to the top. also the State Police do a great job and if you think they won't be there you are wrong. One issue is people who can't follow simple directions. If my family wanted to go to the BIG E we would we need to slow down with the commercial growth and go back to growing our own. Without the non-profits there is no need to go to the fair. It has always been about supporting our local non-profits.
Just my opinion September 20, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Gone are the days that people had lots of money to blow today most families are fortunate enough to be able to get to the fair let alone be paying out their entire weeks pay. I strongly feel the fair needs to take a good hard look at how to make people happy. The roller coaster is not a money maker read the article it is more like a loss that is already prepared for.
Goatboy Soaps September 23, 2012 at 04:03 PM
We are right across from the corn booth with our family Goat milk Soap business and in the tradition of an Agriculture Fair we bring out Goats and it becomes an educational event as well as our only means of income. We rely on the proceeds from the Durham Fair to get us through the winter . Durham is by far the most expensive fair for us to do but it has always worked out OK for us. I remember when they closed the "Crafts on the Green " area we thought we were done for we lost alittle but the fair staff was very accommodating and put us on top of the hill. I am keeping my fingers crossed that our customers won't forget about us and make the hike up the hill and if it turns out to be a disaster the fair staff will find another place for us. We love what we do and understand the running of the fair is no easy undertaking. So lets hope for fair weather and even tempers. Rick, Lisa and the Goats Goatboy Soaps
Sad September 26, 2012 at 10:49 PM
I grew up with the fair. The excitement from seeing the tents going up on the green is still fresh on my mind. I was so disapointed to hear about a car dealership taking over that spot. I guess the fair is going in the more commercial direction and getting away from what it was meant to be, an agricultural fair. I for one won't be making my way up the big hill to see cars. I wonder if now the booths along that hill will suffer now too. So sad:(. Shame on whoever had the authority to make this decision, which should have been a town decision.


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