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Fun & fried dough, yes, but fair is still about agriculture

SANDWICH — With over 26,000 people showing up for the first two days of the Sandwich Fair and a bright and sunny Columbus Day on Monday, the annual Sandwich Fair was poised to approach the 40,000 attendance mark in its 103rd season.
''We had 15,000 people Sunday and lot of entrants in our annual Grand Parade. This year's fair theme was Celebrating 250 Years of Sandwich History and we had a lot of floats reflecting that theme and that made it kind of special,'' said fair office manager Rhea York.
She said 11,000 people turned out in less than ideal weather on Saturday and that there was a good turnout for Monday's oxen pull with 30 teams signed up to compete.
''I don't know yet how many we had on Monday, but it was from everything I saw and heard and very good day.''
A new event this year, a Children's Scavenger Hunt, proved popular according to York, who said that the skillet toss, which was introduced several years ago, continues to be one of the most popular events at the fair.
She said the three-day fair averages around 30,000 in attendance and has drawn as many as 45,000 and is the last on the annual calendar of the state's agricultural fairs.
There's always lots of food, ranging from fried dough and giant donuts to buffalo burgers and sausage grinders with peppers and onions at the fair, along with dozens of carnival rides and games.
But the heart of the fair is still agricultural, and a lot of attention is paid to young exhibitors who are showing their farm animals and having them judged.
Alex Bachelder, 12, of Pittsfield is in her third year of taking part in fitting and showmanship competitions and walked her Holstein ''Rattle'' around the show ring under the watchful eye of show ring judge Katie Putnam of Charlestown,.
''I spend a lot of time working with the cattle at Spooky View Farm to get ready for the shows,'' says Bachelder, who has already taken part in he fairs at Stratham, Hopkinton and Deerfield this year.
She's a member of the Merrimack County 4-H Cub and says that her cousins are also experienced in the fair's show ring.''We always have a good time at the fairs,'' she says.
Carissa LaBonte of Loudon is only eight but she was having a good time explaining to people who made their way through the cattle show area what made the shaggy Scottish Highlander cattle she was with so special.
''They're one of the oldest breeds in the world and can survive in cold weather,'' she told people who asked about the Highlanders.

Eight-year-old Carissa LaBonte of the Highland Farm in Loudon sits with with some of the farm's Scottish Highlander cattle at the 103rd annual Sandwich Fair. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)


Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 01:39

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Schools will ask council tonight to approve $1.8M borrowing

Laconia — School Superintendent Terri Forsten will sound the City Council tonight about the prospect of the School District accepting a $1.8 million loan bearing no interest, with the proceeds dedicated to renovations and improvements designed to "enhance classroom teaching, increase graduation rates, improve employment opportunities and better prepare students for the workplace or higher education".
Laconia was the only school district in the state to express interest in the Qualified Zone Academy Bond, or QZAB, which is awarded by the federal government and administered by the New Hampshire Department of Education. To qualify more than 35-percent of the students enrolled in the district must be eligible for free or reduced lunch, a threshold Laconia (at 53 percent) easily exceeds. In addition, funding requires a local match of 10 percent, creation of a so-called "zone academy" and collaboration with community partners.
The district recently borrowed $6.5 million in the form of a QZAB as part of the financing package for renovations of Laconia High School and the Huot Regional Technical Educaiton Center. To qualify, the district established a "wellness academy," which would ensure its eligibility for a second loan.
Earlier this month Malcolm Murray, member of the Facilities Committee of the School Board, presented the board with a prioritized list of renovations and improvements at the high school, which could be undertaken with the funds. The highest priorities are health and safety issues, including installation of a sprinkler, heat recovery ventilation and radon removal systems and removal of asbestos. The list also included replacing or repairing suspended ceilings in classrooms and aluminum panels on exterior windows as well as removing carpeting from corridors.
The council must approve the interest payments of $78,260 per year for 23 years beginning in 2015. In order to comply with the limits of the tax cap, the council has sought to keep annual principal and payments on borrowings to approximately $3.2-million.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 01:34

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Clarification: Shaker Schools field curfew applies to school activities only

CORRECTION- The Shaker Regional School District playing fields will be open later than 6 p.m. for everything except school-related events as a result of a positive test in town for the West Nile Virus. It was incorrectly reported on page 1 of Friday's paper that the fields were closed to everyone after the curfew time.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 October 2013 03:21

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Partially submerged boat found tied to Mark Island dock

GILFORD — Fire officials said yesterday that a partially submerged boat off of Mark Island triggered a visit from the Marine Patrol and Gilford's Rescure Boat yesterday morning.

Capt. Mike Newhall said the 17-foot boat sank sometime in the last week and workers who were on the island providing service for a different homeowner saw it and reported it.

Newhall said the boat was tied to a dock and was partially submerged. He said fire crews don't know when or why the boat sank but responded because there was some initial concern that gasoline or other toxic fluids may have leaked into Lake Winnipesaukee.

He said there didn't appear to be any leakage and officers from the Marine Patrol were going to notify the owner and request he or she remove it from the water.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 October 2013 03:16

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