Canning competitions are a big event at Topsfield Fair. There are canning competitions done in Coolidge Hall and also displayed in the grange. This contest dates back to the early 1900’s. During the Great Depression era canning was a big to-do; there were even women who created canning clubs to preserve food during this time.
Less than 10 years ago Sandy Rubchinuk became the canning Department Head. During her era as department head canning has been located in the Coolidge Hall kitchen and continues to be currently. It is much larger now and in modern glass lit cases that have expanded to fit hundreds of entries. In fact, they have had to limit the number of entries for the first time as canning is making a comeback. Sandy does 3 canning demonstrations during fair week, as the guidelines for safe canning have changed over the years. Her cooking and canning events draw a full Coolidge kitchen audience. The canning entries have become more interesting, including spice combos, liquor flavorings, fiery hot salsas, and pickled everything! Canning is not just “putting up” the extra vegetables from the garden anymore; it is delicious creativity sealed in a jar! The 2018 Topsfield Fair celebrated the 30th year of judging for Greg Repucci and Deb Feltovich and they say the job gets more interesting but much more difficult every year!