Oxford County Fair opens its 2005 season with an Education Day.

OXFORD – The 2005 Oxford County Fair got off to a tremendous start with its Education Day on Wednesday’s opening day.

School buses lined up to drop off their cargoes of youngsters. Throughout the fairgrounds, exhibits and demonstrations were designed to make learning easy and fun. Students from many local schools, as well as numerous home-schoolers, took advantage of the special sessions.

They watched intently as they followed bees tending larvae in a glass-enclosed hive. They listened while the beekeeper explained the life of bees and the process for obtaining honey.

Students crowded around a model demonstrating drainage patterns through a cross-section of a Maine aquifer. They vied for the opportunity to inject dye into a drain system so that they could watch the simulated “pollutant” as it diffused through the earth to contaminate streams and wells.

One of the highlights was the newly refurbished museum. Young Eliza Neidlinger, who had taken the day off from school, demonstrated a hand-cranked apple peeler as grandmother Georgiana Pacent sat in a nearby rocker, knitting. Both were dressed appropriately for the 19th-century farmhouse kitchen setting. Other exhibits and demonstrations showing how their great-grandparents lived fascinated the 21st century children.

Tom Thomas of Harrison brought science alive with an exhibit of the use of belts and pulleys.

Using an antique gasoline engine as his power source, along with old, leather drive belts, jack shafts and pulleys, he showed how the 200 revolutions per minute of the engine could be reduced to just 10 revolutions per minute at the final wheel. Thomas’ love for teaching was evident as he demonstrated the mechanical principle involved and how the relative sizes of the pulleys caused the speed changes. Thomas is an avid collector of antique mechanical devices.

Elsewhere, the students’ faces reflected their fascination with the numerous farm animals as well as the activities of the 4-H Club members.

Workers were busy with last-minute cleaning and adjustments to the midway rides. The attractions provided by Smokey’s Greater Shows, however, didn’t open until 3 p.m.

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