MONMOUTH — For the 108th straight year, residents and visitors Wednesday will file into the Monmouth Fairgrounds on Academy Road for the annual Monmouth Fair. 

Organizers said the event, which relies on local volunteers, will stay true to its agricultural roots but also offer carnival rides and truck pulls.

Phil Butterfield, president of the Cochnewagon Agricultural Association, the organization that puts on the fair, said he’s expecting an above-average turnout for the largely agricultural fair, which offers horse and oxen pulls and demonstrations from local 4-H groups. 

“We’ve looked at the weather and we think it looks fine,” he said.

The fair has had a slight increase in attendance the past three years, Butterfield said. The Redneck Truck Pull and modified mini-tractors with engines from other, mostly larger vehicles from Pine Street Mini Tractor Pullers have drawn young adults, he said. 

“Anything with those radical engines and loud noises draws that sort of crowd,” he said.

Resident Jeff Kemp was hauling materials with a tractor Tuesday afternoon to set up a sawmill to construct equipment used for the horse and oxen pulls later in the week. He has volunteered at the fair since his father, Richard Kemp, ran the fair about 40 years ago, he said.

Kemp donates bales of hay to the animal owners who stay for the duration of the fair.

“We give them hay and whatever we can to help defer the cost of them coming here,” he said. “We’re doing all right with what we can do,” 

Butterfield said the midway rides and attractions will be provided by Massachusetts-based Kavanaugh Amusements.

Kemp is part of a small group of volunteers that regularly helps the Cochnewagon Agricultural Association organize the fair. Students from Monmouth Academy were painting fences while middle school children were landscaping the fairgrounds and setting up trash bins. 

Paul Fox, 83, is in his sixth decade of managing concessions for the fair. The fairground will be full of food booths and food trucks, he said, including a mobile candy store from Hallowell’s Scrummy Afters and a repurposed bus that serves Asian food. 

Fox said he was thinking about retiring “pretty damn quick,” but he didn’t know exactly when he would stop working at the fair.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “Most of the people I deal with are good-natured.”

Along with rides and games, there will be live music every night. Children under 6 years old will be able to participate in a pig scramble, and children under 45 pounds also will have the opportunity to compete in a pedal tractor pull. The Monmouth Lions Club will oversee beano games every day.

The fair runs from Wednesday to Saturday. Gates for the fair open at noon and close at 10 p.m. Admission for seniors and children ages 6 to 17 is $3; and for adults, $6. Children under 6 get in free. 

Kaeti Butterfield, left, and Abby Ferland whitewash the fence near the horse pen at the Monmouth Fair on Tuesday. The Monmouth Academy seniors were fulfilling the community service requirement to graduate. The Cochnewagon Agricultural Fair opens with a midway and animal exhibitions Wednesday. (Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal)


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