OXFORD – The Oxford Fair has earned the Most Improved Large Fair award by the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs.
The award was presented to Jackie Young of Paris, president of the Oxford County Agricultural Society, at the 101st annual meeting of the association at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland on Jan. 25 and 26.
Young, who serves as the fair's livestock superintendent and was elected president of the society in 2011, said the fair has made a number of major changes over the last year. They include lower admission prices, a return to the Wednesday to Sunday schedule and hiring top-notch entertainment, including 2012 headliner LeAnn Rimes.
“We were family orientated,” Young said. "We were affordable for the people to come in.”
The fair is held on the 100-acre Oxford County Agricultural Society fairgrounds off Pottle Road in Oxford and includes horse racing, livestock demonstrations, live music, carnival rides and other attractions. It is operated by a volunteer organization.
Currently there are 70 to 80 members in society who pay a $10 annual fee and are allowed to attend membership meetings, the annual meeting and elect directors. Young said she hopes more people will become members. She has encouraged community participation in the development of the fair by holding several public meetings.
In the past few years, the fairgrounds has had a new entrance, several new barns, new parking areas and lighting, a new museum, a roof for the bleachers, a racetrack, a crow’s nest for judges, a grandstand for the entertainment area and comprehensive electrical upgrades.
The 2013 fair will be Sept. 11-14. Organizers expect to have new competitions and shows. A decision on entertainment is expected in a month or so, Young said.
The Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs is a made up of volunteers from fairs across the state. It is managed and operated by a slate of officers and a board of directors. The directors make the award selections, Young said.