Throwback Thursday: These Vintage Photos of the Brockton Fair Are Wild
The Brockton Fair has dazzled—and sometimes shocked—New Englanders since 1874. As one of the oldest fairs in the United States, the annual summer carnival has been home to plenty of strange stunts and sideshows over the years.
Take, for example, a sign from the 1933 fair advertising “Oso the Bear Boy,” or a photo of a stunt show put on by the “Lucky Teter Hell Drivers,” in which a car deliberately drives through flaming barricades. Once, in 1915, a stunt went wrong when two men set out to parachute into the fairgrounds from hot air balloons. Emil Olsen and Berton Eager decided to jump separately —Eager hopped out first and landed successfully. Olsen dove second, but wasn’t so lucky; his fourth parachute malfunctioned and he plummeted to his death.
These days, the fair isn’t quite so rowdy. Thought it was in jeopardy of closing last year to make room for a casino, the project was voted down, preserving the Brockton Fair for years to come.
Catch a glimpse of the wild Brockton Fairs of yesteryear in the photos below, all taken by Boston Herald-Traveler photographer Leslie Jones. His work is preserved on digitalcommonwealth.org, a digital archive of the Boston Public Library.
This year’s fair, which promises a demolition derby and a sea lion show, kicks off on Thursday, June 29.