Categories: Agriculture, Brooklyn, Everyday Life, Popular Culture, Sports and Recreation

A Fair to Remember in Brooklyn

Fairground
Fairground image from the Henry McEwen Collection-Glass Plate Negatives
Killingly Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc. Library

The Brooklyn Fair is held annually during the last weekend in August and is sponsored by the Windham County Agricultural Society. The society’s goal in sponsoring the fair is to promote and preserve the area’s agricultural heritage. Offering a variety of family-friendly entertainment that includes rides, agricultural competitions, and live music, the Brooklyn Fair is one of the oldest, continuously operating agricultural fairs in Connecticut.

In 1809, a group of Windham County residents gathered during the harvest to celebrate the season and share their stories of farming and domestic life. (Agriculture still dominated the local economy despite the emerging textile centers growing in towns like Putnam and Willimantic.) Once organized as the Pomfret United Agricultural Society, this group of friends, relatives, and neighbors ensured the operation of a fair every year—alternating locations between the towns of Brooklyn, Pomfret, and Woodstock.

Windham County Agricultural Society entrance sign

Windham County Agricultural Society entrance sign from the Henry McEwen Collection-Glass Plate Negatives – Killingly Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc. Library

Early fairs consisted largely of cattle shows but included exhibits of needlework and household items produced by local women. After 11 years of operating the fair, the group (now numbering over 100) incorporated as the Windham County Agricultural Society. Several decades later, in 1849, the society purchased land at the intersection of what is now Route 169 and Fairground Road. This land became the permanent home of the Brooklyn Fair and is still in use today.

In recent years the Windham County Agricultural Society has successfully expanded the variety of services it offers to the community, as well as the entertainment available to visitors at the fair. The fair still emphasizes agricultural and domestic manufacture but has expanded its focus far beyond livestock, needlework, and jarred preserves. Recent fairs offered visitors the opportunity to witness chainsaw competitions, dog shows, a pedal tractor pull for children, and live musical performances. The Windham County Agricultural Society uses the proceeds from the fair to fund, among other things, a college scholarship program for local residents.

LEARN MORE

Websites

“History of the WCAS.” Windham County Agricultural Society, 2017. Link.
“Windham County Agricultural Society Sponsoring Brooklyn Fair (Local Legacies: Celebrating Community Roots).” Library of Congress, 2017. Link.

Places

“Brooklyn Fair,” 2017. Link.
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