FARMINGTON — The sound of bleating sheep echoed throughout a barn at the Farmington Fairgrounds on Thursday.

Judge Sarah Churchill of Kingfield walked around several wool breeds and touched them on the back to see if they were structurally sound. She also felt the texture of the wool.

Churchill has had sheep since she was 4 years old, she said. Her parents run the River Run Farm in Strong.

First, she judged Merino and Lincoln sheep and chose one Merino ewe as the champion in its class. It was from the Rivercroft Farm in Starks.

The sheep owners pitched in to help each other get the covers back on the animals, bring them to be judged and then back to their pens.

Each breed is different, Churchill said. If the sheep were bred for meat, she would have been looking at thickness, the length of their loins and what would make the best cuts of meat.

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It was another sunny day for fair-goers, including those 62 and older who got a discount on the admission price for Senior Citizens Day.

Betty Hodge of North Jay, Eileen Lord of Vienna and John Toothaker struck up a conversation as they sat on benches and watched the fair come to life. They have attended the fair for years.

Hodge said she liked to see all the people, including those she used to work with. She comes on both discount days offered for older people.

Lord also comes on the special days with her husband. She enjoys seeing the people and the harness racing in the afternoon, she said. She has been coming to the fair since she was a child. Now that she’s retired from the Maine Department of Transportation after 42 years, she can enjoy it more, she said.

“I’ve never missed a fair yet,” Toothaker said. “I’ve probably been coming for 50 years.”

He said he likes the horse pulling the best.

“I like being here,” he said.

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