Coby McDonald gets comfortable in the bucket of a tractor display Wednesday morning on opening day of the Oxford County Fair in Oxford. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

OXFORD — In a tent at the Oxford County Fair on Wednesday morning, a table staffed by members of the Oxford Hills Honey Bee Club was buzzing.

Club President Christopher Easton, holding a piece of a hive behind a plexiglass viewing case, taught Stephen Steele and Howard Thurston, both 6, about the inner machinations of hive life, including the role of the omnipotent hive queen. Caught after the presentation, both youngsters said they appreciated bees and loved honey, the tasty byproduct of a thriving hive.

Kate Larson, Brea Kouba and Naomi Matos peer into a beehive manned by Christopher Easton of the Oxford Hills Honey Bee Club exhibit at Agriculture and Conservation Day at the Oxford County Fair on Wednesday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The boys were at the fair for Agriculture and Conservation Day, which featured educational exhibits.

Honey Bee Club member Paula Easton said education is par for the course. The club meets once a month at the University of Maine at Augusta Extension Office in Paris, where they teach new beekeepers and anyone interested in the fuzzy insects the ins and outs of the hive, with the goal of helping bees recover from a rapidly decreasing population. 

“We’re trying to help the bees stay healthy because 80 percent of our food would not be here if we didn’t have our bees and pollinators,” Easton said. 

The bee table was among 50 exhibitors at the first day of the Oxford County Fair, known as Agriculture and Conservation Day, a cooperative event of the Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District and the Oxford County Agricultural Society.

A beehive exhibit at the Oxford Hills Honey Bee Club exhibit at Agriculture and Conservation Day at the Oxford County Fair on Wednesday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

According to Jean Federico, about 700 students and parents came to Conservation Day.

Federico organizes the event and says the goal is to convince youngsters to get outside and realize that there’s more to life than what’s behind a screen.

“I really wanted to make kids realize that there is so much to do outside that has nothing to do with TV, computers and games,” she said.

Across from the educational tent, children competed in sack races and got to climb up on stationary tractors, a major draw for the students in Holly Hill’s first-grade class.

Hill teaches at Guy E. Rowe School in Norway. According to her student Kolby Tracey, getting up on the tractors was “awesome.” Fellow student Kayden Thomas said his family just bought an orange tractor. On Wednesday, he had a chance to climb up on a green one.

Brooklyn Thorpe and Abigail Canon pet Norway Police Department K-9 officer Bolo as officer John Lewis stands by during Agriculture and Conservation Day at the Oxford County Fair on Wednesday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Another major draw was Bolo, a dog with a job. Bolo rides with the Norway Police Department every day on patrol, tracking and finding narcotics and lost evidence from crime scenes. 

“He can locate things that smell like human odors in areas where humans don’t tend to be, like in a field,” officer John Lewis said. 

As children clamored up to a police cruiser to pet Bolo, Lewis said that while the K-9 officer probably would like to be out doing work, he appreciated the chance to meet new faces.

“He does love sitting here getting loved on,” Lewis said. 

Noel Waterman, left, and Annabelle Alves participate in a sack race at the Oxford County Fair in Oxford on Wednesday as part of Agriculture and Conservation Day. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

 

 

 

 

 


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