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Home > About > HISTORY & MISSION



On December 24, 1817 a meeting was held in Northampton, Massachusetts for the purpose of establishing an AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.

An announcement to that effect was placed in the Daily Hampshire Gazette and on January 28, 1818 the Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Agricultural Society was formed. A constitution was reported, approved and adopted. The Society was incorporated by a special act of state legislature and approved by then Governor John Brooks on February 16, 1818.

The first meeting of the society was held and Judge Joseph Lyman was elected as President. Vice Presidents elected were Noah Webster, Thomas Dwight, Epaphras Hoyt, Samuel Lathrop and Nathaniel Smith. Josiah Whitney as Treasurer, and Josiah Dwight as Recording and Corresponding Secretary. Noah Webster gave the address at the first annual meeting, and the Gazette reported that his address was “…replete with sound sense, valuable agricultural information and most interesting religious and moral precepts…”.


The Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Agricultural Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the purpose of the Society was then as it is now: “To promote agriculture, agricultural education, and agricultural science in the Commonwealth.” Exhibitions, displays, competitions and demonstrations were the “tools of choice” as the Society went about fulfilling its purpose. Premiums are still awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in a variety of agricultural and domestic categories.

Over two centuries later, and without interruption, the purpose on which the Society was built still provides an umbrella over which the Fair events are presented to the public. Each year, the Fair has evolved to offer a variety of experiences for its Fairgoers from farmers sharing their farming techniques, carnivals, games, thoroughbred horse racing (which ended in 2005), livestock demonstrations, crafts, demolition derbies, music, foods and unique entertainment performances as we prepare for harvest. Guests come to experience programs and events that they can not receive anywhere except at the fair.

We look forward to your next visit to the Three County Fair!

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