Officials pleased with attendance at 153rd Northern Maine Fair

Kathy McCarty, Special to The County
17 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – Good weather, fun activities and plenty of food are some of the reasons being credited for the wonderful attendance so far this year at the Northern Maine Fair.

    “Besides the year we had the Tanya Tucker concert, this is probably the best year we’ve had in the past five or six years,” said Lynwood Winslow, president of the Northern Maine Fair Association. “The weather looks great. We’ve had good weather and quite a few acts this week. Numbers are up at the fair, though the exact numbers haven’t been tabulated at this time. It looks like the weather will be good for much of the week.”
On Saturday, vendors were kept busy serving up scrumptious treats including the ever-popular Dough Boys, blooming onions and Polish sausage. Lines were long but patrons were patient as they waited to be served.
“The Demolition Derby on Saturday drew quite a crowd. Tuesday was family night. The motorcycle stunt group held its first show on Tuesday and will have another on Wednesday. They drew quite a crowd last year and again this year,” said Winslow, noting the fireworks Tuesday evening and other events this year were expected to attract much attention as families looked for fun activities to do together.
Smokey’s Greater Shows returned to the midway this year, with rides for the young and young-at-heart. Games and exhibition halls offered a wide array of entertainment options as well.
Musical entertainment continues to draw a wide audience, with performances from various genres taking place throughout the week.
A lively performance by The Heath Bartley Band on Saturday drew dozens of listeners to the Commercial Exhibition Building. With plenty of seats, visitors had the opportunity to kick back and relax while taking in the show.
For those interested in farming and agricultural events, there are tractor displays and baby beef events.
“Thursday we’ll have the Baby Beef Show. This is one of the premier events and certainly one of the most popular shows,” said Winslow. “And this year we have “Ways of the Woods,” an exhibition by the Northern Forest Center. It’s an interactive exhibition and education program that highlights the people and land from the past, present and future. That will  be here August 2-3.”
Animal exhibits – from the petting zoo to livestock – continue to be popular with fair-goers. Richard Porter, owner of Spudland Alpacas in Blaine, brought part of his herd to this year’s fair.
“I take them to a few shows, though they’d prefer to stay home in the pen or pasture. I took three of the boys and one girl to Springfield, Mass., earlier this year. Out of about 1,300 animals entered, Spudland Alpacas took home four ribbons,” said Porter. “I was pleasantly surprised – didn’t expect to win anything.”
According to Porter, the animals were judged on such things as the texture of their coat.
The animals could be heard softly bleating in their fair pen as Porter spoke.
“They’re not happy. They’d rather be home. They’re good-natured but they’re not used to the noise and all the people,” said Porter as he stroked the neck of one of the animals on July 28.
For the littlest visitors, several rides await them.

“We came for our daughter. We brought Hannah to have fun,” said Mark and Suzanne Thibeault, of Frenchville, as their 4-year-old daughter enjoyed a ride in a small automobile.
A short time later, Suzanne and Hannah were spotted on the Super Slide. But again, Suzanne insisted, “this is for my daughter,” as she walked away, smiling, with her husband and little girl.
One of the most popular activities – the truck pulls – will take place Saturday, Aug. 4.
“Truck pulling is always our big event. It attracts a large audience,” said Winslow.
New to the fair this year and garnering a lot of attention is an animal show featuring camels, elephants and horses.
B & C Ranch is one of the biggest hits this year with families. It’s fun to go by and see how excited the kids are – see them waving and laughing. Every show has been packed,” said Winslow.
Great weather has made for fantastic harness racing this year, said Winslow.
“The harness racing has been fantastic this year, with big, big purses and very competitive. We’ve had a lot of local winners. Total purses for the week are in the neighborhood of $200,000,” said Winslow.
Winslow credits the region for the fair’s success.
“We really appreciate the community’s support. Aroostook County people love the fair. We look forward to the rest of the week and invite everyone to come see what we have to offer,” said Winslow.
For more information on the fair, including a schedule of events, visit: www.northernmainefair.com.