Franklin County Fair organizers reviving ’80s-era Tug of Towns

  • Three children dance around at the 2019 Franklin County Fair. This year’s fair will take place Sept. 9 to 12 at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Pigs race out of the gate at the 2019 Franklin County Fair in Greenfield. Fan favorites, including the Swifty Swine racing pigs, will make a return this year. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 7/21/2021 6:43:23 PM

GREENFIELD — Organizers of the annual Franklin County Fair are reviving an event from the 1980s, hoping to inspire a little town pride from years past.

The Tug of the Towns on Sept. 12 will be a tug of war contest between towns, with teams made up of public employees — police, fire or public works officials, for example — representing their respective communities.

“That’s who we want to cater to first,” said Franklin County Fair Entertainment Director Steve DeJoy. “Those are the people who have been taking care of us the last year and a half, and we want to showcase them.”

The annual Franklin County Fair, which was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place Sept. 9 to 12 at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.

DeJoy said he needs eight teams to run the contest, with eight individuals per team. Acknowledging that some towns’ departments are smaller than others, he said there may be cases of joint teams made up of a few members from more than one department, or more than one town.

“I’m really hoping for the Greenfield versus Turners rivalry to come back,” he said. “We’d love to see the rivalries we don’t really have anymore because of schools being smaller, athletic programs being cut … that rivalry that was there for 80 years, and all of a sudden stopped.”

He explained that the Tug of the Towns event will replace the annual Firemen’s Muster that typically takes place after the emergency services parade each year.

“With this being the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, the emergency services parade is going to be a little bit larger,” DeJoy said, adding that the Firemen’s Muster hasn’t recently garnered the participation or crowd that it once did. “So I was trying to do something geared toward all of our first responders.”

The winning team, he said, will go home with $400.

He hopes to have teams signed up sooner rather than later, but ultimately would like to have teams registered by Sept. 1. To register, email

Also new this year, replacing the various eating contests, will be a Franklin County Fair team triathlon.

The event will have three divisions: children ages 14 and under; parent and child, 14 and under; and couples. The three-part event will consist of a water balloon toss, a three-legged race and a potato sack race. The first team to cross the finish line will go home with $100, he said.

DeJoy said the biggest new surprise this year is the addition of “the dinosaur experience.” Although the “event” won’t have a designated time on the schedule, robotic Jurassic Park dinosaurs will roam the fairgrounds.

Fan favorites, including the Swifty Swine racing pigs, will make a return this year, he said. There will also be a freestyle motocross show, a performance by Grand Illusion by the Blooms, and Mike Piazza will entertain with his Flying High Dogs.

“Our entertainment is all set,” DeJoy said. “Now I just need the next six weeks to fly by.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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