Workers won’t have to unpack the horses for the merry-go-round at the Skowhegan State Fair this year. Fair management has decided to keep the rides and entertainments under wraps in favor of an agricultural exhibit supplemented by virtual attractions. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The show will go on, but with much less fanfare this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That was the word Monday from Skowhegan State Fair president Thomas Dillon, who said the 10-day event, which traditionally features rides, games, shows, fair food and vendors, will be smaller and focus on agricultural exhibits.

The fair, which usually is held in August, will be held in September this year, with dates and events to be announced, Dillon said in the statement, posted Monday on the fair’s website.

“Skowhegan State Fair has made the difficult decision that the traditional fair we have all come to love and cherish will not go on as usual this year,” it says. “For 2020 we have decided to transform our traditional fair to a small exhibitor only agricultural fair with many virtual aspects designed to bring the fair to our spectators at home.”

The safety and enjoyment of thousands of people who typically patronize the fair from both near and far is always top priority, according to Dillon.

“We waited it out as long as possible, but after months of consideration and communications with other fairs here in Maine and across the country, as well as state officials and the MAAF (Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs), it’s all too clear that we could not responsibly hold our traditional fair.”


This year marks the fair’s 202nd year. It has run without interruption since 1818, allowing it the title of “The Nation’s Oldest Consecutively Running Agricultural Fair,” according to Dillon.

“In September 2020 we will be hosting a small agricultural fair on the fairgrounds, as well as several virtual events to showcase our exhibitors in each hall,” Dillon’s statement says. “This will also include showcases for our loyal vendors. Stay tuned on our Facebook page and website for updates on the new fair schedule to be posted in the next few days and weeks, as we develop and add additional features and events to our lineup.”

He thanks fair-goers, employees, volunteers, vendors, exhibitors and agricultural partners for their continued support.

“We look forward to making the best of this year and to a spectacular 2021 fair season,” he said.

Fair dates for 2021 are Aug. 12-21, according to Dillon.

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