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October 9, 2012

Smiling past a rainy fair in Topsfield

(Continued)

This isn’t about money.

“I’ve been doing this since I was about 10,” he said. His dad did it before him. The event is organized road rage, he agreed. Drivers wear helmets, and speeds are not excessive in the indoor arena. Bucknam, who competed at the Brockton Fair earlier this year, doesn’t see how anybody could get hurt.

“It’s just for fun.” The race gets his competitive juices going, “and if anybody gets in my way, I’m getting them out of my way. That’s the whole point of the race.”

This year’s fair also featured a world record-setting pumpkin, weighing in at more than a ton (2,009 pounds), its hefty achievement recorded in newspapers all over the globe. It was grown by Ron Wallace of Greene, R.I.

Yesterday, the massive, yellowish gourd was encased in a protective hut with windows, viewable, untouchable and unmoved by all the attention, vegetable royalty. A succession of people came and saw and shook their heads in wonder.

Joe Hill of Boxford didn’t come to see the pumpkin specifically, but he did not want to leave without giving it a peek.

His wife, Alison Chase, noted that last year’s champion pumpkin wasn’t nearly as big and had, moreover, an unsettling, Buddha-like belly spilling out toward the viewer.

“What a difference,” she said. “This one is pretty.”

When it did rain earlier in the week, Coolidge Hall was a good place to get out of it. The space offers crafts, intricately made furniture, paintings and photographs.

George Pacheco of Ipswich, the superintendent of the hall, declared this year’s fair “an absolutely wonderful time.” As he spoke, a dance troupe performed on the nearby stage. Earlier, the Marine Corps Band had played and left a few patriotic souls dabbing at their eyes.

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