Paula Easton of the Oxford Hills Honeybee Club explains the workings of a demonstration beehive to Gage Dyer, 9, at Agriculture and Conservation Day at the Oxford County Fair in Oxford on Wednesday morning.

OXFORD — Hundreds of students arrived early Wednesday morning for the annual Agricultural and Conservation Day that kicks off the four-day Oxford County Fair.

More than 750 public and home-schooled students attended for free.

“It’s a special tradition in our community,” Oxford mother June Mosher said as she and children arrived to view the animals, exhibits and demonstrations.

This year’s theme is Your Hardworking Pollinators, said Jeannie Federico of the Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District. The district and the Oxford County Agricultural Society have hosted the event for the past 25 years.

Each year there is new programming that brings in components focusing on science, math and social studies as well as other curriculum areas.

The teachers received grade-specific support materials and gift items for students before their visit to help them prepare. There were demonstrations, exhibits and games, Federico said. This year, several learning stations focused on aspects of pollination.

Federico said there were 84 students from the Montello Elementary School in Lewiston, all first-grade students from the Oxford Hills School District, almost 180 students from Dixfield area elementary schools, and home-schooled students from as far away as the Pine Tree Academy in Freeport.

Many have been to the fair before, but some are newcomers.

“I’ve never been to this fair,” said one mom who brought her four children ranging from one month to 7 years. She said she read about the fair and was excited to begin exploring. “It looks like a nice fair.”

Students learned about pollination during the day and had an opportunity to visit with livestock.

This year’s hit was a set of white steers – Whitely and Lightey – from Italy. They weighed one ton each and stood well over 6 feet tall.

“They’re humongous,” shouted one youngster. “They’re almost as big as the ceiling.”

“They’re big and they are still growing,” said owner Cindi Cox, who along with her husband, Joshua, from Cox Kennels and Farm in Woodstock kept a close eye on students so they stayed a safe distance from the pair.

Woody Cooper and Aliyssa Norton from Cox Farm are spending two days at the fair showing their short-horn calves.

The Fair will continue Thursday with Community Day, featuring a special welcome to senior citizens at Larry Murch’s annual community luncheon, the popular pig scramble, harness racing and other activities.

Friday will feature Woodmen’s Day and the youth market and beef sale. Evening activities will include a demolition derby.

Saturday is Family Fun Day and 4-H Day, including the lamb, beef and heifer shows. It concludes with concerts beginning at 2:30 p.m. on the new main stage of the fairgrounds off Pottle Road.

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Mason Dodd and his sister Chloe color in a pollination coloring book at the Alan Day Community Garden table Wednesday morning at Agriculture and Conservation Day at the Oxford County Fair in Oxford. 

Alex Dougherty, Cole Katlin and Bryce Morgan play a competitive game of Pollinator Bingo at Agriculture and Conservation Day at the Oxford County Fair in Oxford on Wednesday morning.

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