It started as a field day that was held in 1943, where children could practice the fitting and showing of their dairy animals, helping them be more competitive at the Breed Shows and State Fairs. This was held at Walker’s Lombardy Farm on Parade Rd in Laconia. Led by the late Lillian Walker, her dream of a 4-H Fair, and having the support of merchants, friends and others who shared the dream, the next step was the “4-H Food for Victory Fair” at Opechee Park.
War Bonds and stamps for the World War II war effort were sold at the fair and state-wide, and in 1944 enough money was raised to purchase Nine training aircraft for the Army Air Corps (Two from Belknap County). Col. Harrison Thyng, the first of our war heroes to return home, flew his Thunderbird to Laconia, landing at the airport and representing the armed Forces, dedicated the plane and spent the day at the Fair.
After World War II, the fair moved to the Belknap County Recreation Area, returning to Opechee Park in 1950 where it was held until it moved to the former Royal Smith Farm on Mile Hill Rd in 1977. Over the years it has developed a reputation as a family-friendly fair, providing opportunities for young and old to make their debut in showing farm animals, home improvements and natural resource skills. Steeped in tradition, the Belknap County 4-H Fair remains the smallest of the recognized Agricultural Fairs in New Hampshire.
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