Grange fair marks 85th year

Who makes the best oatmeal cookies? Who bakes the best apple pie? Whose watercolor painting will take home top honors?

The answers will be known on Sunday, Aug. 27, when the Cannon Grange Agricultural Fair & Exposition marks its 85th anniversary. The fair takes place from 10 to 4, rain or shine, on the grounds of Cannon Grange Hall, 25 Cannon Road.

The fair is one of Wilton’s strongest ties to its agricultural history but it also keeps one foot firmly in the present.

Displays and contests are a major part of the fair and a watercolor painting contest has been added this year. There are two classes — still life and landscape — and each will have a section for juniors and adults. Paintings should measure no larger than 16-x-16 inches, including any frame, and be ready to hang.

“We always try and think of something new to incorporate into the fair and through discussion, with a lot of talented people in town and the area in fine art, we thought adding a watercolor painting contest might be fun and generate interest from people who don’t normally enter an agricultural fair,” said the grange’s Don Offinger.

Other artistic contests include photography, quilting, and sewing and needlework.

Always popular are the state baking contests sponsored by King Arthur Flour and Bishop’s Orchards. All baked goods will be sold at the end of the fair.

The adult baking contest requires entrants to make a cinnamon swirl bread and the junior contest features iced oatmeal applesauce cookies. The recipes which must be followed are printed in the blue fair book available at town hall, the library, and a number of merchants around town. It is also available online at

A third baking contest is for two-crusted apple pies. The winner will receive a blue ribbon and will be eligible to submit their entry at the statewide Association of Connecticut Fairs Annual Meeting this fall.

The Cannon Grange Perpetual Trophy will be awarded to the winner of any recipe for an upside-down cake made of any fruit. A recipe must be provided with the entry.

On the agricultural side, there are contests for best chickens, water fowl, rabbits, guinea pigs, eggs, vegetables and fruit.

At the other end of the spectrum, but keeping in step with the fair’s agricultural roots, is a special feature that will have Wilton Library and the Ridgefield Discovery Center demonstrating 3-D printing. Children may submit for judging an article they have “printed” of something found on a farm.

Fair visitors will be entertained by music all day and topical discussions. There will also be concessionaires selling their wares. The always-competitive — and messy — watermelon-eating contest begins at 3:30, and the fair will conclude with an auction of fruit, vegetables, flowers and baked goods from exhibits at 4:15 inside the hall.

Admission is $2 per person or $1 with a canned good for Wilton’s food pantry. No dogs will be permitted except guide dogs. All details and entry blanks may be found in the blue fair book.

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