Seniors enjoy Farmington Fair

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Brooklynn Webber, 9, of New Vineyard directs her uncle’s twin milking shorthorns, Phineas and Ferb, to their stalls as he shows another pair at the Farmington Fair Tuesday afternoon. Her brother, Leland, 3, runs to get in on the action as most of the extended family from Webber Family Farms take part in the fair.

Brooklynn Webber, 9, of New Vineyard directs her uncle’s twin milking shorthorns, Phineas and Ferb, to their stalls as he shows another pair at the Farmington Fair on Tuesday afternoon. Most of the extended family from Webber Family Farms take part in the fair.

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Brooklynn Webber, 9, of New Vineyard, directs her uncle’s twin milking shorthorns, Phineas and Ferb, to their stalls at the Farmington Fair on Tuesday afternoon.

Cleon Fletcher and Emily Houghton of Dixfield watch the ox pulling contest at the Farmington Fair on Tuesday afternoon.

Cleon Fletcher and Emily Houghton of Dixfield watch the ox pulling at the Farmington Fair on Tuesday afternoon.

FARMINGTON — Cleon Fletcher of Wilton and Emily Houghton of Dixfield came to watch the oxen pulling Tuesday on Senior Day at the 177th annual Farmington Fair.

Fletcher, an Air Force veteran who served in World War II, mostly in England and France, used to own and show steers at fairs. He earned best of show a couple of years at Fryeburg Fair, he said. It was his hobby after he retired from working in the paper mill in Rumford for 38 years.

 On Tuesday, they were enjoying their time together, as they have for the past few months.

“God gave us a second chance,” Houghton said. 

Fletcher, who turns 90 on Saturday, and Houghton, 86, were married when they were 21 and 17, respectively, she said. They had three sons; one died as an infant. They eventually divorced and married other people.

His wife died 13 years ago. Her husband died four years ago.  

After telling her son she was lonely living on her own, her granddaughter asked if she minded if Grandpa called or visited. She went to her grandfather and told him he ought to call her grandmother.  

When Houghton saw their granddaughter, “I said, ‘thank-you.'”

“We’ve been having a pretty good time the last couple months,” Fletcher said.

“We used to be children but we’ve grown up. We were not Christians then. We have a lot to be thankful for,” Houghton said, as she chuckled at his jokes. “He’s a great teaser,” she added.

Listening to the music of the Davidson Country Line, sisters Louise Kilponen of Vienna, Helen Heath of Livermore and Carolyn Heath of Livermore, along with daughter and son-in-law, Andrew and Thaylene Bernard of Livermore, enjoyed lunch at the fair. 

The sisters remembered coming to Farmington Fair as children; by horse and wagon from Vienna, Kilponen said. Their parents brought a picnic lunch and the girls would have a little money to spend, she said.

They remembered liking the merry-go-round and the game featuring ducks floating in water.

Gordon McBean of New Auburn remembered those days too. His parents would attend the fair and bring a picnic basket. They started bringing him in 1941, pushing him around in a bamboo carriage, he said.

He used to live locally, but now returns for the week so he can attend the fair. “I come every day. I’m trying to keep up the family tradition,” he said.

In the Starbird Building, several medical facilities featured displays.

“It’s a good Senior Day,” Jeff Wright, building supervisor, said.

A local pharmacy was offering flu shots and will again Thursday, the second senior day of the weeklong fair, he said.

Dr. Jay Naliboff was manning the Franklin Community Health Network display. He was there to talk with seniors and answer questions about Franklin Memorial Hospital, he said.

The fair continues Wednesday with rides, horse twitching, scooting and pulling, the music of Mark Gentle of Farmington 6 to 8 p.m. at the grandstand.

abryant@sunmediagroup.net

Bruce Cox, of Cox Family Farm in Woodstock, directs his oxen, Bill and Bob, during the Open steer and ox show Tuesday afternoon at the Farmington Fair.

One of dozens of displays at the Farmington Fair in one of the numerous exhibition halls sprinkled throughout the fairgrounds.

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