Oxford Fair opens with children’s events
There were plenty of fun activities mixed in with the learning experiences.

OXFORD – Wednesday’s opening of the Oxford County Fair was a day of learning and fun for approximately 600 school children from throughout the Oxford Hills.

It was also one of the busiest opening days of the four-day fair in recent memory, as cars began to fill the fair parking lot early in the day. Fair organizers have arranged for overflow parking in the Oxford Shopping Plaza, as big crowds are expected every day through Sunday for the afternoon harness racing at the fair’s new racetrack. Parimutuel racing with betting has returned to the fair after a 39-year absence.

In the morning, however, the focus was all on the kids, as teachers herded groups of children from one demonstration and display to another.

The Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District, coordinator of Education Day, made sure there were plenty of fun activities mixed in with the learning experiences.

A long line of kids waited for the donkey rides offered by farmer John Grant of Peru. Other lines waited for a horse-drawn wagon ride from any one of three or four wagons on hand for the occasion.

A group of small children pressed their faces close to the glass of an incubator to watch baby chicks hatching. Hands-on contact was allowed in the stalls with many of the farm animals, including the newborn baby goats of Betty Grant of Peru.

Curtis Pime of Augusta attracted many small curious onlookers as he demonstrated the old-fashioned hands-on method for milking a cow.

In the pulling ring, Lance Besin of Woodstock let children take turns leading a pair of oxen with a switching stick.

Beneath a tent, Fergus Lea of the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments showed children a cross section of layers of soil and explained how artesian wells are drilled through bedrock. Other demonstrations highlighted the benefits of composting for enriching the soil.

Heidi Lindscott of the soil and water district said coordination of the educational events was made easier by the volunteer help of marketing students from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

Thursday is Senior Citizens Day at the fair, when admission for seniors is $2 instead of the usual $5. Friday is Woodsmen’s Day, and Saturday is 4-H Day. The midway runs Thursday from noon to 10 p.m., and from noon to midnight Friday. On Saturday, the rides and games run from 10 a.m. to midnight.

Admission for children ages 4 to 12 is $2, and free to those under age 3. Parking is $1.

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