TOPSHAM — Sitting between two other judges as the lights went out Saturday in the Topsham Fair Exhibition Hall, Dick Brown went right on with his work.

The open hall windows gave him just enough sunlight to write on his judging sheet, add scores on a calculator and, most important, see the many foods presented and tasted. His chore this time: nine whoopie pies, seven yeast rolls and two pots of baked beans.

He skipped lunch. He allowed himself a few extra tablespoons of baked beans, lest he become peckish, and nibbled through the other foods. He was particularly careful of the sugar-rich whoopie pies.

“All you need is a thumb-sized piece,” said Brown, who also serves as the fair’s livestock superintendent. “You don’t need to eat a whole whoopie pie to tell you if it’s any good. One little bite is better because you can taste it all.

“And I want just a little bit of filling,” he said.

It was all — strawberry, lemon, dark chocolate, light chocolate and pumpkin — “delicious.”

It had to be.

“This is the only time of the year that I’ll have any dessert,” Brown said.

Everyone else, it seemed, ate with abandon. Folks walked past with heaps of fries, spools of cotton candy and rafts of fried dough.

The exhibition hall served as a haven from the direct sunlight and noise of the midway. Long tables hosted the people who brought in food they purchased throughout the fair, though Exhibition Hall Superintendent Cindy Rogers ran her own busy kitchen when she had power.

The lights went out at about 1:20 p.m.

The outage struck one of the fair’s electrical circuits, Rogers said. The rides kept on spinning and the barkers kept barking.

But at least one barn lost its lights. Some of the nearby vendors were shut down.

Diane Bullock turned away ice cream buyers at Carolyn’s Creamee when her power died.

“We’ll hope for the best,” said Bullock, who sat on a stool beside her trailer when the power stopped. It was a break from a busy week with lots of folks buying her chocolate ice cream inside waffle cones.

“It’s a chocolate kind of town,” she said.

A few minutes later, at about 2:10 p.m., the power came on. Nothing melted, she said.

Inside the hall, kids began constructing gingerbread houses with graham crackers and frosting.

“The graham crackers are your frame,” Brown instructed. “The frosting is your glue.”

But it was the decorations — piles of Gummi bears, M&Ms, Fruit Loops and Cocoa Puffs — that drew the kids.

Kim Keller of Brunswick sat with her 2-year-old grandson, Vanni, as he sprinkled M&Ms on his house, though one of every two candies wound up in his mouth.

Acadia Guliani, 5, of West Bath ate fewer candies. Rather, she tried building a proper house with the materials provided.

“It’s going to be a real house,” she said. “And the Gummi bears are shingles.”

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