PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Due to the recent change in fair dates, the Northern Maine Fair Association will offer folks a six-day fair with the traditional agricultural events and activities, as well as a new three-day Freedom Festival to celebrate the Fourth of July.
The Northern Maine Fair will run from Friday, June 28, through Wednesday, July 3, and will feature 4-H and Future Farmers of America contests, a commercial expo and marketplace at The Forum, lumberjack round-ups, harness racing, food contests and the Lil’ Farmers at the Fair interactive exhibit.
Other popular events will include truck and tractor pulls, the second annual Star City Backyard Barbecue Cook-Off, and daily carnival games and rides from Smokey’s Greater Shows.
Although the Northern Maine Fair has traditionally been held in late July and early August, the fair association changed the dates to late June and early July to accommodate the schedule of Smokey’s Greater Shows. The midway ride vendor had previously agreed to provide rides for Bangor State Fair during the Northern Maine Fair’s traditional time slot.
The midway rides will remain at the fairgrounds when the activities transition to the Freedom Festival from July 4 to 6. The agricultural contests will be over but the scheduled events will include a monster truck showdown on July 5 and 6, children’s craft activities, free music concerts and a 4-H steak dinner.
On the Fourth of July, community members can take part in an Independence Day Egg Hunt, free family activities in front of the grandstand and a watermelon eating contest. Local band Star City Syndicate will play for two sets at 6 and 8 p.m. in front of the grandstand, followed by a fireworks display after dark.
Some activities will occur during both the Northern Maine Fair and Freedom Festival, including The Forum’s commercial expo, farm animal experience, Lil’ Farmers at the Fair, the agriculture exhibition halls, a strawberry shortcake sale from the SAD 1 School Farm and the Wheel of Destiny Aerial Act by Anastasini.
Despite the changes in this year’s fair Lynwood Winslow, president of Northern Maine Fair Association, said that the events stay true to the fair’s mission of providing affordable, family-friendly experiences for community members.
“We want to carry on the traditions of helping kids and families learn about agriculture while also having fun,” Winslow said.
Winslow noted that last year’s fair saw over 22,000 people and that the fair events rely on over 300 local volunteers and sponsors staff rides and exhibitions and provide crucial funding. Volunteers alone, he said, put in thousands of hours throughout the year to help plan the nine-day event.
Like last year, the fair will feature a layout in which the carnival midway is positioned around The Forum, with the exhibition halls and other activities located throughout the fairgrounds. Entrances will be open off of Mechanic and State Streets and parking will be available near The Forum.
The fair association changed the layout to include more paved areas — a move Winslow said has made walking easier for people with strollers or wheelchairs — and situated the midway attractions in one location.
For a full schedule of events, visit http://northernmainefairgrounds.com/.