MONMOUTH — For the first time, the Monmouth Fair will kick off the state’s agricultural fair season.

Traditionally scheduled for the first weekend in August — a month when 11 of the state’s 25 agricultural fairs already are occurring — the Monmouth fair will now be held June 13-16.

Monmouth Fair president Phil Butterfield hopes the new date will entice commercial vendors and exhibitors and increase turnout.

“As one of the smaller fairs in the state, we’re always looking for ways to increase the midway and draw vendors,” he said.

During the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs annual convention in January, Butterfield said Smokey’s Greater Shows “offered us an opportunity to partner if we were willing to make a date change.” He feels the new midway company can attract better offerings and “more things to see when (fairgoers) come through the gate.”

The date has broadened the fair’s entertainment opportunities. Butterfield said Woodsman’s Day will be implemented again, and Twisted Roots will do truck demonstrations, along with other fair events. They are hoping June will have “better, more tolerable weather” than August’s heat.

“Always some doubt when you make a change,” Butterfield said. “We’re doing this for the community. “

Kaeti Butterfield, left, and Abby Ferland whitewash a fence July 31, 2018, near the horse pen at the Monmouth Fair. The Monmouth Academy seniors were performing community service to enable them to graduate by touching up the border between parking and the pulling ring. Kennebec Journal file photo by Andy Molloy

While the date change has been helpful to some vendors, others won’t be able to attend the fair in June. The Monmouth Lions Club, which had offered beano, is one of those vendors.

“We are not doing the beano fundraiser, because we have another fundraiser in June,” said Lion Scott Sanborn, the club secretary. “As a club we decided not to do both.”

If the fair still took place in August, Sanborn said, the Lions still would participate. Missing the opportunity for revenue, however, probably would not affect Lions projects.

“That fundraiser took a lot of work, without much gain,” Sanborn said. “We weren’t happy about the change, but will adapt just fine.”

It’s always a balancing act of the pros and cons, Butterfield said, when he and other Monmouth Fair officials considered the date change.

“We do recognize that people that come to the town for summer will miss out,” Butterfield said. “They probably won’t be here yet.”

He also acknowledged it’ll be too soon for agricultural exhibits with vegetables, and asked for ideas from officials at Northern Maine Fair in Presque Isle, which will run June 28 to July 3. He learned they showcase different things, such as flowers, herbs and crafts.

“It’s still doable,” he said, “but there are adjustments that have to be made.”

 

Abigail Austin — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @AbigailAustinKJ

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