Oxford wraps up annual crowd-pleaser

OXFORD – The kids had a good time at the last day of the 158th annual Oxford County Fair on Saturday.

The shrieks, squeals and screams of youngsters on the carnival rides often rose above the midway music.

Some fairgoers walked around blue- or pink-lipped from the cotton candy they consumed. Others, had to deal with the dilemma of balancing their fried bread on a paper plate with one hand, eating a piece with the other and wondering where to wipe their butter-covered fingers.

The midway was dusty; but that made the cold beverages taste all the better.

Some teens hung out on the midway with friends or played games of skill; others prepared their livestock for the afternoon 4-H show.

While the midway was alive with activity by early afternoon, some of the “bigger kids” were at the racetrack watching the horses run around in circles.

Fairgoers Ronald and Laura Morse said it was “wonderful” to have racing back.

The Morses were born in Norway and now live in Connecticut. Now retired, they spend their summers on Norway Lake at a camp they own.

“My husband and I came yesterday and we had such a good time we came back,” Laura said on Saturday.

Caldwell Jackson, fair publicist, said the attendance was good and the purses neared what organizers had expected.

As the first race went off, those who had livestock entered in shows were working to prepare them.

Jay McKinnon, 16, of Gardner used electric shears to groom heifer Elsie Precision to prepare her for the afternoon 4-H show.

“You want to make it so the judge looks at your animal the most,” McKinnon said.

Heather Ramsdell, 17, of Silver Lake, N.H., was milking Dreamer with an electronic milking machine. Helen Ramsdell, of Rams Farm in Denmark owns Dreamer.

She got as much as she could using the electronic apparatus and then had to resort to the hand method to get the last drop.

It wasn’t just a good fair; it was a great fair.

“The attendance was way up, the weather was beautiful and the racing was good,” said Suzanne Grover, president of the Oxford County Agricultural Society Board.

Gayle Smedberg, a trustee on the board said more people have spent time in the exhibition hall looking over the prize-winning, vegetables, sewing, painting and knitting.

“Good, old country fair stuff,” Smedberg said.

She was just one of the many volunteers who worked at the main office, booths, gates, food shows and wherever else they were needed.

Grover praised all their efforts. She said Jeanne Whittemore, Lee Herrick, Luther Gray and Dennis Sanborn were tireless in their endeavors to make the fair work.

She said representatives from Rotary and the AARP gave a full day to volunteer work.

“A number of directors put their whole summer into working for the fair,” Grover said. “They built and then painted buildings, cleaned toilets and built a racetrack.”

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