A little off the beaten track, but close to State Highway 89, sits the Hopkinton State Fairgrounds. Every year since 1915, The Hopkinton State Fair in Contoocook, New Hampshire, has been a must-attend event.
Whether you’re from New Hampshire or further afield, you won’t want to miss the action-packed four days of fair fun over Labor Day weekend. In the past, some standout fair attractions have made it an event to remember. Demolition Derby, Rodeo, and even a truck and tractor pull have lured visitors in their droves to 392 Kearsarge Avenue, eager to be a part of the action.
The Hopkinton State Fair is a traditional fair that has something for everyone. If you’re a passionate farmer, then you’re going to love the livestock displays of sheep, beef, dairy, goats, and pigs. The Farmer’s Market may appeal as well, with fresh vegetables, fruits, and homemade goodies eager to end up in your pantry.
The adrenaline junky can get their fill of carnival rides, while those with a competitive streak will be keen to try their hand at any of the exciting games and activities. In the past, there has even been a hay maze to push you to the limits.
A sea of green farmland and pastures will lead you straight to the Hopkinton State Fair. Pack your belongings, fuel up the RV for camping nearby the fair, and hit the road for one last summer hoorah.
There are ticket options galore for those keen to pencil the Hopkinton State Fair on their calendar. If you’re a child, youth, senior, or general guests, you can buy passes that enable you to visit every day with dramatic savings. Otherwise, you can also purchase one-day passes if you’re merely passing through for the day.
Your admission tickets get you through the gate, but what if you want to experience everything the fair has to offer? You can then buy tickets for live entertainment and rides. There are plenty of savings to be had online, so visit www.hsfair.org for current ticket pricing and schedules. Otherwise, purchase your tickets on the day you arrive.
The Hopkinton State Fairgrounds are a hop, skip, and a jump from State Highway 89, which links to 93 on the way to Boston. The small town of Contoocook also cuts through the beautiful Contoocook River, a sure sign that you’re in the right place for the fair.
Your trip to New Hampshire will be a visually pleasing one, with plenty of farmland as far as the eye can see. The smooth, wide open roads are also an indicator that traffic congestion might be at a minimum. However, you may wish to arrive the day before the fair, so you’re well-rested at your accommodation.
There is often limited day parking on site for standard vehicles and some RVs organized by local groups. If you’re staying in the area for the entire fair, then you may like to park off-site to save the hassle of trying to find a parking spot. There is ample parking in the township of Contoocook which may have more appeal. Some parking options associated with the fair may be free if available.
There will be public buses available for trips to the fairgrounds from landmarks around Contoocook. However, you may need to arrange transport from your campsite to the pick-up points for the bus. Private ride services may also be an option. Otherwise, the Hopkinton State Fair is within walking distance of the center of Contoocook.
Onsite camping is only available for agriculture exhibitors due to the limited space. If you plan on calling Contoocook home for the four days of the fair, then you’ll need to organize your accommodation in advance. There are campgrounds and RV resorts within a short drive of the fairgrounds.
Because visitor camping is not available at the fairgrounds, you’ll need to choose your accommodation in advance. Weeks, or even months, before you hit the road, check out what Contoocook and greater New Hampshire have to offer. Travelers will find few different campgrounds and RV parks within a half-hour drive of Contoocook and even further out into the surrounding areas.
The conservative size of the fairgrounds means you will only need your own feet to make your way around the site. There are no wheeled transportation methods for rent, but you will find plenty of things to do, see, and experience as you wander around on foot. If you tire, you can also sit down and take a break in one of the many seating areas. Entrance to the grounds is via gates one, two, three, and four.
Beautiful sunny weather at the end of summer and beginning of fall means you’ll be packing light for your RV trip. Shorts, singlets, sandals, and light layers will be all you need to navigate the fairgrounds during the day. However, as the night draws in, you may like to have a sweater or coat on-hand to keep the chill away.
You’re not going to need to bring a lot to the Hopkinton State Fair, for it surely has much of what you need to have a great time. Leave your weapons and firearms at home, and opt for adult supervision with your pets back at your RV. If you plan on attending any of the leading entertainment, you’ll want to pack light for this too. Bring a small bag, cash and credit, and arrange alternative seating arrangements to the grandstand if you have a stroller.
Spending time in the sunshine and a few days away from home can be good for the soul; be prepared to do so safely. State fair officials take your health and safety seriously. Bring along everything you need to stay safe in the sun, such as sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Don’t forget any medical supplies or prescription medication you need as well.
Unless you’re a cooking competitor, there won’t be any opportunities to cook at the fairgrounds. However, back at your RV, it’s a free for all to delicious meals. Find out what rules and regulations are in force for camp cooking at your chosen location, and stock up on supplies so that there’s plenty for everyone. There’s a grocery market within a 15-minute walk of the fairgrounds.
Contoocook is a small township of around 1,500 people, which means there’s not much call for restaurants. If you don’t find what you’re looking for at the fair, then you may like to venture into town to see what you can find. A café and pub are a leisurely 20-minute walk from the fair, with larger eating establishments in neighboring towns and cities.
There are options galore to tantalize your taste buds at the Hopkinton State Fair. If you have a sweet tooth, then you can look to enjoy the cotton candy and ice cream treats near the grandstand. There are also fried goods and plenty more delights from which to choose. It may be helpful to bring cash with you in case vendors do not offer credit.
For peace of mind, there will be security patrols monitoring the fairgrounds over the four days. To help make their job a little easier, leave any weapons or firearms at home, and allow them friendly access to your belongings for random security checks. If you have any questions or concerns, you are more than welcome to ask the security staff for assistance. The fair is also a solicitation-free zone.
The Hopkinton State Fair operates no matter the weather, rain or shine. Fortunately, historical weather patterns show there’s a lot more shine than rain. You’ll most likely get to enjoy consistent temperatures in the 80s, dropping down to the 40s and 50s overnight. As a result, you’ll be inclined to ventilate your RV during the day, but close it up snug and tight as night falls to retain all that heat.
Bumps and bruises happen, which is why there will be a first aid area at the fairgrounds to help you with minor injuries. If it’s more severe, dial 9-11 and wait for emergency services. Alternatively, there’s a pharmacy within a two-minute drive from the fairgrounds and a hospital 20 minutes away in Concord.