FRYEBURG — Thousands of campers are rolling into the fairgrounds this weekend as the 161st annual Fryeburg Fair gets under way Sunday.
“We're expecting record crowds,” Rachel Andrews Damon, spokeswoman for the fair, said Friday. “We're expecting excellent weather. Sixteen hundred campers are coming in tomorrow.”
Kate Demers, a reservationist at the fairgrounds, said 90 percent of the 3,400 camping spots were already reserved by Friday morning. More than 50 percent of the campers will stay for the entire week joining thousands of fair-goers from across the country who are expected to attend the largest agricultural fair in the state from Oct. 2 through 9.
This year, the fair will feature the traditional events and exhibits that include a calf scrambles, tractor pulls, sheep dog trials, a fireman's muster, woodsman's day, scores of exhibit halls and daily and nightly entertainment.
The headliners at this year’s night shows are Always Patsy Cline, John Stevens & The Beantown Orchestra, Stealing Angels, Randy Houser, David Foster & The Mohegan Sun All Stars, and Hotel California.
Harness racing begins Tuesday and runs through Sunday beginning at 1:30 p.m. for 10 daily races on the half-mile track.
One of the highlights of the fair will be a display of 17 historic New Hampshire Abbott-Downing wagons, all from the horse-drawn commercial vehicle collection of Margaret and Sut Marshall of Conway, N.H.
Fair officials say this is the first time such a wide variety of Abbot-Downing vehicles have been brought together in one place for the viewing public.
Other exhibit halls will feature everything from wood crafts to a garden center, history center, fiber center, farm museum and even Christmas trees and wreaths.
There will be more than 3,000 head of cattle, horses, sheep, goats, hogs, poultry, rabbits, oxen and more. Fair records show that during the 2010 fair more than 4,000 animals were registered to be exhibited. New animal barns have been built, including one for the oxen and goats.
The grand parade, which features all prize animals and exhibitors from the fair, will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday. “The animals are just spectacular,” Damon said.
“The No. 1 event is people watching and the food is unbelievable,” she added.
Gates open at 7 a.m. and the exhibit buildings are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
General admission is $10, which includes night shows, which begin at 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Children under age 12 can attend for free each day. Senior Citizen Day, for those 65 and older, is Tuesday. Admission on that day is free for seniors.