FARMINGTON — As the new Buildings and Grounds superintendent of the Farmington Fairgrounds, Tom White of Jay knows what needs to be done long before animals, rides or people arrive for the 173rd Farmington Fair on Sunday.

White, who retired in May as a detective with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, didn’t stay idle for long. His small crew has spent the summer painting, making repairs and mowing to prepare the 65 acres and 50 buildings for the annual agricultural fair.

After many years as grounds superintendent, George Barker of Chesterville relinquished the position but, fortunately for White, stayed on as part of the crew.

“George knows where everything is and what needs to be done,” White said.

Four employees, including White, Barker, Paul Gilbert of Farmington and mechanic Dennis Newton of Peru work on the grounds from May to Oct. 1. A couple of volunteers have also helped this summer, White said.

Don DeRoche has reputtied windows in the exhibition hall. Larry Hinds of Wilton has helped paint.

The crew has focused on painting several buildings, maintaining the horse track and paddock area and patched some metal roofs.

“We’ve done a few things,” White said.

The fence around the horse show arena was replaced, the 4-H show pen is rehabilitated but the grandstand needs some attention, he said. Vinyl siding was installed on the north side of the grandstand Thursday. As finances permit, more siding will be considered, he said.

White said he has enjoyed the summer work, though the weather has been a challenge. There’s limited inside work needed so the rain has made it difficult, he said.

While the grounds are ready for the weeklong fair, there are a few last-minute jobs that can only be done this week, he said.

When the Farmington Fair opens Sunday, Sept. 15, people are invited to wear green in honor of the 100-year celebration of 4-H in Maine, Judy Smith of East Dixfield said.

Activities during the week include a 4-H alumni dairy showmanship contest Tuesday and a 4-H alumni beef showmanship contest Thursday. Anyone who has been in 4-H, no matter what age, is welcome to participate, she said. There’s also a 4-H alumni baking contest during the week.

Some 4-H members may decorate their livestock pens this year to celebrate the 100th anniversary, she said.

Don DeRoche, who usually provides a historical display in the Exhibition Hall, is gathering photos and memorabilia to feature 100 years of 4-H in Maine, she said.

During each 4-H show next week, a couple totes will be available; one for donations of school supplies for area school children and another for nonperishable foods for the local food closet, she said.

“We hope to have 100 items in each tote,” she added.

Aside from the new 4-H activities at the fair, a new program is likely to entertain, Smith said.

A Mutton Bustin contest is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in the pulling ring. The contest is for ages 7 and 8, Smith said. She is helping with the event but it is not a 4-H activity.

Popular in the West and at several Maine fairs in recent years, children suit up with helmets and safety equipment to ride some large sheep a distance, she said.

“It draws a crowd at other fairs,” she added.

The week also features animal shows and pulling, racing, rides, entertainment, a truck pull and demolition derby.

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