As the fair opens its gates for the 100th time, it seems only suiting to mix in a little historical information together with the dedication, which this year, is respectfully dedicated to the MANY members of the multi-generational Adams Family, past and present whom have helped with a great deal of these traditional Fairs in the Deerfield Valley.
The Fair took roots in the Deerfield Valley in the early 1850s, with an annual one day event organized by the Wilmington Agricultural Society, which continued into the 1890s. In its later years, the President of this organization was Aiden Adams, one of the fortunate Vermonters to play a part in Pickett’s charge at the Battle of Gettysburg and lived to tell the tale. Aiden held this position for several years, and the Society disappeared near the time of his passing in 1896. Following the disappearance of the Society’s Fair, the grange had held some fairs in their Hall (the Masonic Building) until it became too cramped to host it. Then a few events were hosted in Memorial Hall. These seemingly more informal gatherings, were the pride of the area.
Then about a generation after the disappearance of the Wilmington Agricultural Society, came a ‘dog and pony show’ (aka demonstration) on livestock judging hosted by O.L. Maring, Vermont Commissioner of Agriculture at the time, and a Mr. Elliott from Ontario (a fine judge of cattle). This gathering fueled Fair organizers to band together and have the first Deerfield Valley Farmers’ Day Fair in 1917. (Little is known of this first fair, but as serial numbers have progressed year after year, it is known that there was no Fair in 1939 due to the Flood, as referenced by Mrs. Pool, and thus 1917 was likely the 1st fair. 2016 would’ve been the 100th if it were not for the flood.)
Adams’s continued to be a part of the Fair. Former Wilmington Town Clerk, Leslie Adams, (grandson of Aiden) reflects, “One time when I was helping my father (Walter Adams) get some cattle out to the fair as we were driving them along the road (there was no rapid transportation in trucks at that time) he was a short distance ahead of me and I expect it occurred to him that I probably did not have very much money to spend at the fair, which I am sure was a true supposition, so he dropped a silver dollar in the road and when I got to the place where the dollar was I immediately took possession and am sure I felt quite rich”.
Doris Adams ran the Youth Hall for many, many years, from atleast the 1960s to the 1980s. Organizing exhibits was a huge team effort, and she’d recruit any passing family member up for the task. Thelma (Adams) Boyd, Shirley (Adams) Pease, William Adams, were no strangers to pitching in with these and other fair duties. Thelma and Shirley continue to run the Adult Fine Arts and Crafts Hall, and have been pitching in with the fair much longer than the written records give them credit for. Many of these Adams descendants, especially Boyds and Peases recall being recruited to assist with exhibit paperwork along with Doris, Thelma and Shirley. Pete & Betty Adams became Trustees of the Fair in the early 1970s. William and Greg were co-superintendents of the Antique Tractor Pulls (and parades) which were popular in the early 2000s. Jill Adams has been a Superintendent of the Talent Show, and assisted with other events and tasks throughout the years.
Steven Adams (2nd Great Grandson of Aiden) became a Trustee in 2000, andhas served as President, Vice Presidentor Treasurer most of those years, and continues to serve today. Last year the fair welcomed Tessa (Adams) Viallas Trustee, and now Cooper Adams as Junior Trustee, marking the first of the 6th generations of family involvement with the fair.
It has been a challenge to write this, as so many Adamses, and Aiden Adams’ descendants have helped with the fair, we simply cannot to name them ALL! You’ll see several of the Adamses on the fairgrounds again this year, and many of them hard at work. Please take a moment to thank them as we honor their loyal dedication to this valley’s centennial tradition.
100th Annual Deerfield Valley Farmers' Day Fair 8/10-13/2017