Tunbridge is home to to the famous Tunbridge World’s Fair, held annually in mid-September. Generations of farm families have displayed their livestock, entered their giant pumpkin and/or their best apple pie in contests. The fair awards sewing, art, photography, flower arrangement and group projects as well as prizes for the most creative vegetable-face creations. It is a fair steeped in generations of farm family tradition. Many Vermonters consider the days of the Tunbridge World’s Fair to be unofficial holidays, and take this time off from work to spend it with their family members at the fair.
The first fair was held at the Lougee Farm in North Tunbridge in 1867 and was organized by the Tunbridge Agricultural Society. The Union Agricultural Society moved the fair to its current location at the fairgrounds when it assumed sponsorship in 1875. The fair features a wide array of agricultural, livestock, and traditional crafts along with food, horse shows, sulky racing, entertainment, and antique displays.
According to the Tunbridge Fair website at www.tunbridgefair.com,“The Tunbridge World’s Fair has run continuously since 1867 except in 1918, due to the great flu epidemic, and during World War II.” The fairgrounds are also used for many other events throughout the year, including the Vermont History Expo held biennially on even years.A drive through Tunbridge is a visual treat. The vistas include rolling hills, pastoral landscapes showing its agricultural roots, classic New England architecture, and the bridges that cross the First Branch of the White River and other major brooks.
But Tunbridge is so much more than just the fair. It has several historic sights including Hayward & Kibby (or Hayward & Noble) Mill on Spring Road in the village and the South Tunbridge Methodist Episcopal Church. It is also home to five covered bridges: Cilley Bridge (in the village off Howe Lane from VT 110), Flint Bridge (on Hill Road off VT 110), Larkin Bridge (on Larkin Road off VT 110), Howe Bridge (at Belknap Road entering Vt 110), and Village Bridge (in the village on Spring Road). All of these bridges are listed on the National Register.
It is where dairy farmer and actor Fred Tuttle, was born, raised and lived out his entire life. It has one of the liveliest grange halls around and is a true agricultural community. Tunbridge is a very special place. If you are lucky enough to attend one of the grange hall dances, you know what we are talking about!