All is FAIR in Love and Longevity

To start I want to mention a few things I learned in my first experience with the Topsfield Fair

  1. Bumper cars seem a lot slower when you are above 5 ft tall (and old enough to drive)
  2. No game or ride or glass of lemonade concentrate – is worth $5 – even if its “fresh squeezed”
  3. Fried food goes incredibly well with powdered sugar and a smile – but not with 8 am practice (exercise)
  4. No pumpkin should weigh so much that it barely fits in the bed of a truck – even if there is a prize
  5. Family is everything
  6. All good experiences, foods, and fun are best enjoyed in moderation so do not overindulge.
(The Topsfield fair is in the North Shore Boston area, it is not unlike any other county fair but draws people from both inside and outside of the Topsfield area community.)


Fall has finally arrived and with it came the buzz of Fall Flavored trends: Boxes of cider doughnuts, apple picking, farms and, of course, Fair time Ferris wheels.

Apple picking, Farms and Ferris wheels oh my!

In the past week, social media has buzzed with these big events. From trips to the Big E to daily local farm adventures New England’s youth is bustling with family-friendly fun.

Growing up in the Tri-State area – I have never been a stranger to Fair Ground Fun. Mom and Dad always made it a point to spend time as a family – and sometimes this meant going to the fair in Delaware and occasionally in Fryberg, Maine. And while I wouldn’t quite classify us as ‘fair people’ we are also not strangers to the ‘natural’ smells of fried food, barn animals, and mud (lots of mud). But what I have grown to love the most about this season, aside from the traditions – is its brevity. You see in a few short weeks, apple picking will end, the pumpkins will rot and the fair games will be taken to a place where they can rest and repair themselves for next year.

A Day at the Fair

Typically associated with large areas of land to bring us back to our bustling agricultural era, county fairs are a way for parents, couples, families, and kids to partake in hayrides, pumpkin picking, games, the arts and rekindle memories of simpler times.

So when it comes to a county fair there is something for all ages – which got me thinking… if fairs are for people of all ages, is there a possible connection to longevity. If people from 1-92 stroll in and around the grounds – is there something about the comradery that keeps people alive and in attendance?

This writer says, yes!

I find it no coincidence that those among us with tight-knit families and close groups of friends tend to live the longest. In fact, according to Harvard Health Publishing and their eight years of research – tight-knit connections can prove to lengthen life, whereas loneliness can prove to shorten it. (see article)

The NorthEast – A Region with a High Agricultural Aptitude (ie. The Good Ol’ County Fair)

Among the top 22 best-ranked county fairs, 5 are in New England and 13 are on the east coast ( Click Here ).  As a Health and Wellness focused journal readers might be curious why something as greasy and deep fried would be ending up on this kind of site. But think of it this way – half if not more of our clientele have attended a state fair and as such maybe they can learn something from an article that speaks to possible points of longevity within the fair environment.

Pros Vs. Cons

Endless Laps around the Fair Grounds – getting Lost in the Maze               Fried Food                               

Petting Zoo (provides animal therapy)                                                               Stress of Rides and Runaway Children

Positive Family time                                                                                               Whining Children 

Agricultural/ Historical Insight and Education                                              

The benefit of a Yearly tradition  


A Lesson in Moderation

The benefit of change – is that it comes slowly. But the benefit of the seasons changing is that they come incrementally. Like a well-balanced meal – Fall, Spring, Winter, and Summer – are evenly spread to our condition our bodies with an awareness of change. And similar to this is the idea that our celebrations – like county fairs – are also spread and meant to be enjoyed in moderation. So why is it that we then blame fairs and fried food for a lack of health when one day or even one week does not decide what we do or eat year round?

The sad truth is that fairs get a bad reputation because, like many people in my office, many assume that what happens at the fair effects one’s health in a large way. But you see – the reason this country has remained in an obesity crisis since 2008 is not because of fried foods, fast foods, and fairgrounds. The reason we cannot stay healthy is not because  of the events we attend once a year – it’s because we haven’t learned moderation.

Think about it

Much of the month of October is dedicated to the theatrical. From the pictures, family trips to the fair, and, obviously, Halloween the whole month has turned itself into a large-scale show. And for families who work and go to school full time, this means a severe spike in activity as well as one in sugars consumed.

Walks around fairgrounds and through the neighborhood – while these events associate themselves with well-intentioned overindulgence, they also allow these working families to get out into the fresh-ish air and enjoy their time together.

See the point of fairs is not gluttony, it is comradery and moderation. Each year fair season gives families and friends a chance to trick and treat themselves into having a good time and overdosing on fried foods and powdered sugar. It is about indulging now so that we can take time off and hibernate from the large-scale festivities until the next holiday or town celebration, and in moderation these things are great but it is in excess that we run into conditional issues.

At the end f of the day, living a long and happy life is about indulging and enjoying time with family. But like with anything else, there’s a limit. An annual trip to the county fair may produce memories that last a lifetime, but that second helping of fried dough may be a part of you for just as long.