Where in the world can you see a pet rock display, a cookie stacking competition and a backseat driver contest?

They’re coming up this weekend at a small fairgrounds in North Waterford where, among other events, women will be throwing frying pans, kids will be scrambling after pigs and men will be vying for the title of best couch potato.

The Waterford World’s Fair, a tradition dating back to 1850, opens at 7 a.m. Friday and continues through Sunday afternoon. Produced and directed by a loyal group of volunteers, the quirky contests, music, exhibits and fair food are designed to bring three days of fun to locals and visitors — but more importantly, to focus on the importance of small family farms.

Friday is senior citizens’ day, with the entrance fee for those 65 and over reduced from $5 to $3, plus a senior citizens’ luncheon at the dance hall. Among the activities Friday are a miniature horse show at 9 a.m., Felt Band at 1 p.m. and the first of three pig scrambles for kids at 5 p.m.

“That’s one of our biggest draws,” fair Vice President Dana Hemingway of Harrison said Tuesday, referring to the Friday pig scramble, which is for 5- and 6-year-olds.

“We pretty much pack the stands for that,” he said. Saturday’s pig scramble is also at 5 p.m., for 7- and 8-year-olds, and Sunday’s scramble is at noon, for 9- and 10-year-olds.

More volunteers are always needed, Hemingway said. “Just let the guy at the gate know, and we’ll put you to work somewhere,” he said.

Hemingway and his wife, Brendi, raise Angora rabbits. Brendi will be giving spinning demonstrations at the Old MacDonald’s Barn, and Dana is in charge of the kitchen at the food booth. Dana’s mother, Pearl, one of his waitresses, will be attending the fair for the 60th year in a row, he said.

Other Friday events include chocolate chip cookie entries, steer stone boat contest, whoopie pie entries, draft horse pull, Wee Man contest (a timed strength and endurance test for kids), a He Man contest (ditto for adults) and a ladies skillet throw. The day’s activities end with a campfire at 8 p.m.

One of the new events for Saturday will be a comedy show featuring “Birdie Googins” (the Mardens Lady) beginning at 7 p.m. before the 8 p.m. dance with the band, “Range Riders.” Other events on Saturday include draft horses, steer and ox pulling, pie judging, antique tractor pulling and horseshoes.

Sunday’s events include a steer and ox show, pleasure horse show, “dollar hunt in the hay,” banjo and fiddle contest, and backseat driver contest.

Food will be offered all three days beginning with a pig roast on Friday starting at 5 p.m. The official fair food booth will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, billed on the fair’s website as “good ole fashioned home cookin’” and the Waterford Firemen’s Food Factory will serve hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries. New this year, Penelope’s Ice Cream will serve waffle cones and frappes, along with sundaes, shakes and cones.

Activities for children include pony rides, wagon rides and the Maine Antique Tractor Club Barrel Train. Kids between 6 and 16 will be able to enter a drawing for three free bikes for three age groups when they pay their entrance fee, but they must be present to win. The drawing is at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The exhibit hall and craft building open at 9 a.m. every day.

General admission is $5, and children 5 years old or under are admitted free. The fairgrounds are on Green Road, off Five Kezars Road, across from Melby’s Market on Route 35. The fair’s website is waterfordworldsfair.org.


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