Can you find your way to the Houlton fair?

Karen Donato , Special to The County
15 years ago
    Meet Ted Smith, one of the state’s agricultural fair evaluators. Smith, retired from the Department of Transportation, lives in Litchfield. He is a volunteer assigned to evaluate five agricultural fairs throughout the state and has been doing this for 35 years. His overnight accommodations and mileage is paid for, but he gives his time to do the job. Smith’s wife Muriel travels with him and participates in the judging of local food contests held on the fairgrounds.

When Smith arrives at his destination, he looks for such things as signage. Are the signs placed in strategic locations around the town to direct an out-of-towner to the fairgrounds easily?
Once at the gate, he checks to see if there are enough people stationed at all entrances to handle the crowd and to take care of parking. He refers to a checklist that includes, how well the brochures are designed and how well the various sections of the fair are placed, are there restrooms available, are they located in convenient places and are there enough of them to accommodate the crowds. Are the churches and local organizations located away from the midway and are there a separate area for the animals and the mud runs?
Smith checks for trash containers and if there is someone assigned to empty them before they are overflowing, is there a good quality loudspeaker that reaches all areas where there are activities taking place?  He checks on the livestock to see that they are secure and being taken care of. He also monitors the people with the fair association making sure that the event is being properly conducted and that there are first aid stations supplied with the necessary items to treat minor injuries. Are there police officers on site for any altercations that may develop?
Smith looks for a good balance between agriculture and non-agricultural events and displays. And he makes sure that the fair is a wholesome and friendly place to spend time with your family.
Houlton was the first fair for the season. He will attend fairs in Dover Foxcroft, Farmington, Blue Hill and Presque Isle later in the season. Each year, he is assigned different fairs completing a rotation of all the fairs in the state every three years.
Smith was very complimentary of the Houlton Fair Association and gave them high marks for their organization and event.