NORTH HAVEN — Even after 77 seasons, the North Haven Fair introduced visitors to a year full of firsts.
Some of this year’s firsts included a performance from Spotlight Stage Company, a mariachi band, a full honor guard flag ceremony and Celebrate North Haven Day, which kicked off the fair on Thursday. Celebrate North Haven Day put different community organizations and groups at the forefront of the fair and introduced guests to all the town has to offer.
“We wanted to let the North Haven people know more about the fair and what we have here. That allowed nonprofits and businesses to come in to showcase their items or their business,” said Pam Trepanier, a member of the fair’s board of directors.
Trepanier said Celebrate North Haven Day was “a big hit,” so the fair would likely bring it back next year.
First Selectman Michael Freda said while the North Haven Fair has been “a tradition here for decades and generations,” he supports the fair and the board as they continue to bring in new attractions.
Trepanier said Spotlight emailed the board of directors a few months ago to talk about performing at the fair. What came of that email was a Saturday spot on the fair’s mainstage for North Haven’s newest addition to their theater community.
“The fair was wonderful! We performed a 50-minute set on Saturday afternoon after being rescheduled from Friday night due to the rain,” said Christopher Sumrell, the co-artistic director for Spotlight, in an email. “We had 16 people perform more of a cabaret style set and it was received really well. Our performers were professionals as always and did a great job.”
Despite all of the changes to the fair’s roster, the board of directors made sure to keep the things people love the most. This included bringing back magician and juggler, Robert Clarke, the Dinosaur Trail and pig races as well as all of the different exhibits from agriculture and animals to home arts such as woodworking and photography.
Joe Delorenzo, another member of the fair’s board of directors, likens the fair to the first time the characters in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory step inside Wonka’s world.
“When they first walk into the chocolate room and you see joy on the kids’ faces...that’s what happens when they walk in here,” he said. “And we did that. It makes us feel fantastic, that’s why we do it.”