Topsfield Fair canceled over coronavirus concerns

No giant pumpkins this year — the Topsfield Fair is now latest major New England festival to be called off over coronavirus concerns.

The Essex Agricultural Society, which runs the multi-day affair, announced the “difficult decision” on Wednesday.

“We understand the impact of this decision for small businesses, family farms, competitors, and exhibitors and the disappointment of hundreds of thousands of people,” general manager James O’Brien said in a statement on the fair’s website. But, he added, “As our scheduled opening day got closer it became clear that we could not create a fun, safe, and enjoyable experience that fairgoers have come to expect and deserve.”

“America’s Oldest Fair” has rarely been canceled since it launched in 1818 — closing once due to the Spanish influenza and again during World War II.

Topsfield’s cancellation follows those of the Big E in West Springfield and the Deerfield Fair in New Hampshire as major festivals and sporting events continue to fall victim to the pandemic.

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