The Ossipee Valley Fair may use the tagline “the friendliest of fairs,” but there’s another reason you’ll want to make a trip to South Hiram village next weekend: to meet Zeus, the 7-year-old Belgian draft horse.

“We believe Zeus is the largest horse living in the United States and we’re waiting on confirmation from the Guinness Book of World Records,” said Judy Leonhart, one of the fair directors. “He is 21 hands tall and just shy of 3,000 pounds. He’s a giant among giants, really. But his personality is like a lap dog.

“The guys have been on the fairgrounds building a special box stall especially for him. It’s going to be great to have this big boy with us this year.”

There will be plenty of other animals to keep Zeus company at the fairgrounds. The horse pulling competition on Saturday is expected to be even larger than last year, along with the draft horse and pony show. And the dairy, beef, goat and sheep barns are expected to be full.

“We’re one of the first fairs and we’ve always prided ourselves on providing a great learning experience for kids showing animals at our fair,” Leonhart said of the many 4-H and youth shows. There will also be general livestock shows featuring local farms.

Friday night’s Grand Parade will feature a variety of floats, antique cars and engines. Antique car enthusiasts can attend the fair’s all-day car show on Sunday.

For those with an interest in faster-moving vehicles, the four-wheel-drive and ATV time trials will be held Saturday and Sunday. Thursday night features a “Smoke Show” burnout pad. If you attend, be prepared for the burning-rubber smell inherent with this event.

Novelty events make each fair unique, and the Ossipee Valley Fair has its share of silly fun with the frog jumping contest, egg toss and skillet throwing.

Fair officials are also hoping to host a watermelon seed-spitting contest, but that depends on the watermelon supply.

“Anyone who lugs a watermelon with seeds — and they have to have the black seeds — will likely get in free to the fair,” Leonhart said. “We had to cancel this contest the past two years because we couldn’t find watermelons with seeds.”

There will be live entertainment every day and night at the fairgrounds. For those with vocal talent, there’s an opportunity to win $500 at the singing contest Saturday afternoon. Sunday night will feature a concert with the alternative metal rock band Dead Season. Visitors should note there is an additional fee to see that show.

For the do-it-yourself crowd, there will be demonstrations on raising backyard poultry, rabbit fiber, sustainable living, homesteading and solar energy each day at the Agricultural Exhibition Hall. The midway rides will be open daily as well.

There are many more activities packed into this four-day event, as Leonhart can attest.

“After being with the fair for 30 years, you get to be a jack of all trades,” she said. “There’s something at this fair for everybody.”

Staff Writer Wendy Almeida can be reached at 791-6334 or at:

[email protected]