Cannon Grange Fair: 82 years of horticulture, homemaking and fun

With the 82nd edition of the Cannon Grange Agricultural Fair right around the corner, entries for the fair contests have started pouring in.

“We just started accepting entries and they’ve been coming in the mail,” Cannon Grange President Don Offinger told The Bulletin on Tuesday.

“Right now, we have received six envelopes — that’s six different people, and one of those had 12 items on it, so as far as number of entries, there’s quite a few.”

The annual Cannon Grange Fair will take place Sunday, Aug. 24, from 10 to 4, on the grounds of the historic Cannon Grange Hall at 25 Cannon Road.

Over the next week-and-a-half, Mr. Offinger said, he expects to receive “an abundance” of more entries in the mail, although “most people enter the contests as walk-ins,” he added.

There will be three state baking contests, sponsored by the Association of Connecticut Fairs:

  • Adult baking: Citrus Chiffon Cake with Citrus Glaze.
  • Junior baking (ages 7-15): Maple-Raisin Oatmeal Bars.
  • All ages: Two-Crusted Apple Pie contest.

Baking contest winners are determined by six judges, who look at five criteria.

“They’re judged on overall appearance, following the recipe’s directions, texture of the baked good, aroma and flavor,” explained Mr. Offinger.

“For baked goods like cookies or brownies or cupcakes where it asks for a plate of six, the judges look for uniformity — one’s not a small little cupcake while another is a big monster. That would be part of appearance.”

To win the 2014 Cannon Grange Perpetual Trophy, contestants will have to bake the best Irish soda bread in the competition.

The six baked good judges determine the winner of the Perpetual Trophy, which is “just another contest within the baking department,” explained Mr. Offinger.

“We picked up the Perpetual Trophy idea from the Litchfield Grange Fair, where they have the Litchfield Grange Perpetual Trophy, and we thought it might be fun to mimic,” said Mr. Offinger. “So, we have our own little trophy, which is a rolling pin and a little plaque.”

There will be a number of other contests at the Cannon Grange Fair as well.

“It’s a real agricultural fair,  with judged exhibits of horticulture and homemaking,” said Mr. Offinger. “We have sewing, needlework, crafts and quilt contests — and then, of course, flowers and vegetables and fruit.”

There will also be contests for poultry and fowl, homemade spirits and eggs.

All vegetable, fruit and flower entry items will be sold to benefit Cannon Grange.

Entertainment & activities

The grange fair isn’t all about competing — it’s the grand finale to summer activities in Wilton, after all.

Something new this year, Mr. Offinger said, will be a jazz trio performing. The trio is made up of Will Comer on piano and accordion, Theodore Molina on bass guitar, and Timmy Cervera on tenor saxophone.

It is unknown, said Mr. Offinger, if the annual Rubber Duck Race will take place this year.

“It’s dependent on if the river is full. Last year, the weather was so poor there was no river flow,” said Mr. Offinger.

“I do hope we have the duck race. It’s fun to throw that bin of ducks over the bridge into the river and let them float.”

As of Tuesday, Mr. Offinger said, “We’re not sure, but we’re planning on it.”

The fair will also entail an assortment of children’s games, including relay races, a dress-up game and an egg-and-spoon race — except with Ping-Pong balls.

“These will take place at different times, like one at 10:30, one at 11:30 — so they’re spaced throughout the day,” said Mr. Offinger.

“We’re also having a watermelon-eating contest at 3:30, and we have a very nice family here in town who sponsors that — the Kirchof family.”

Mr. Offinger said around 1,800-2,400 people attend the Cannon Grange Fair each year, and he expects this year’s turnout to be similar.

“The fair is a nice tradition to have and maintain,” said Mr. Offinger. “It’s rain or shine — even if it thunders, it goes on.”

A fair book containing all the rules, regulations and information about entering the fair contests is available at

Admission to the Cannon Grange Agricultural Fair is $1 per person, or a canned good that will be collected for the Wilton food pantry.

There will be ample, free parking at the nearby Cannondale Station.

Information: 203-762-1900 or