Sunday August 5, 2012

ADAMS -- Mary Beth O'Shea took two of her good friends, Henry and Leroy, to the Adams Agricultural Fair at Bowe Field Saturday.

She brought them from their home in Worthington in a trailer because together they weigh more than 3 tons. They are draft horses and athletes and competed in the horse pull representing the O'Shea & Porter Farm.

In the mid-afternoon heat, the competition was a popular event. More than 50 people lounged in the shade of trees watching these pairs of massive equines hauling thousands of pounds of concrete blocks past the six-foot line.

When the two massive horses are hitched together, it takes three people to guide and control them. It seems like they can't wait to pull the load -- it is common for them to start pulling before they're hooked up to the sled.

O'Shea said that her draft horses have a day job -- they help her husband, Kip Porter, in his logging business.

And in rainy weather, they also come in handy. O'Shea noted that they have been known to free a pick-up truck from a mud patch.

They also use their six horses to give wagon rides.

But the horse pull competition is what O'Shea looks forward to most.

"This is definitely my thing," she said on her way to pick up a blue ribbon. "It's so much fun."

O'Shea said she has a special relationship with her horses.

"They have so much power, and they like to do the horse pull because they like me," she said. "If they didn't want to do it, they wouldn't do it."

Meanwhile at the agricultural fair, kids lined up for the carnival rides, others watched the lawn tractor races, the Bounti-Fare restaurant won the chili contest, and a magician performed tricks for a packed audience in the shade of the fair's brand-new pavilion.

The pavilion was dedicated to the 38-year-old fair's volunteer staff during a ceremony on Thursday.

The $95,000 structure was paid for with a $50,000 state grant, a $10,000 town grant, and money raised by the community during the past year.

During the dedication, one of the founders of the fair, Helene Meacham of Adams, was given a proclamation from the state legislature. It expressed gratitude for her 38 years of service to the fair and to the state's agriculture industry in general.

Meacham will turn 100 years old this week.

As an extra treat, she won two blue ribbons in the knitting competition.

Saturday, there were more than 80 volunteers working at the fair. There were also dozens of other participants of the four-footed variety, not to mention the small contingent of feather-bearing two-footers.

Ava Charbonneau, 4, swings around with delight on a ride at the Adams Agricultural Fair.
Ava Charbonneau, 4, swings around with delight on a ride at the Adams Agricultural Fair. (Stephanie Zollshan / Berkshire Eagle Staff)
There were goats, sheep, cows, chickens, ducks, rabbits, and even Smokey the Bear was seen mingling with fair-goers.

Today's schedule includes the ox pull, live music and the popular demolition derby at 2 p.m., according to Elizabeth Randall, the fair's publicity chair person.

Admission is $6, $1 for children, and the fair will continue until 6 p.m. today.

To reach Scott Stafford:
sstafford@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6241.
On Twitter: @BE_SStafford