OXFORD — Following a pandemic forced hiatus last year, the Oxford Fair returns to run Sept. 15-18. In 2020 the fair was among the last in Maine to be canceled, with directors not officially announcing it until early August. This year it joined a slew of Maine agricultural events making statements last spring that their shows would go on, even as a number of festivals decided to hold off yet another year.

The midway at Oxford Fairgrounds in a previous year. Submitted photo

Rides and games will be presented by Smokey’s Greater Shows, which also coordinates commercial food vendors.

Three local organizations, the Norway Fire Department, the Paris Fire Department and Oxford Hills area 4-H will each have fundraising food booths, offering standard fair and grilled food and beverages. 4-H will feature a dinner special every evening and PFD both corn and seafood chowders.

“We expect to see an increase in attendance in Oxford,” said Oxford County Agricultural Society Vice President Jim Trundy. “Other fairs – Waterford and Ossippee Valley – both said their numbers were way up from 2019. Waterford attendance doubled this year. People are anxious to get out and do the stuff they want to.”

Owen Wentworth of Vassalboro volunteers to be the stop-and-go flagger during the antique tractor pull at a previous Oxford County Fair. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

During Thursday’s Community Day, Dr. Lawrence Murch will hand out free pre-packaged snacks and bottle water. A fair icon, Murch has sponsored lunches every year since 1991, at first to seniors but then expanding it to all. According to Trundy, Murch decided on a more socially distant celebration this year, with COVID still a risk for many Mainers. But his traditions of ringing his cowbell and playing music remain.

Friday is Woodsman’s Day at the Oxford County Fair. Demolition derbies will take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Crystal Gayle is the entertainment headliner. She was contracted to perform last year and agreed to come in 2021 instead. She will go on stage on Saturday, Sept. 18,  at 5 p.m.

The Oxford County Fair schedule can be viewed on the Oxford Fairgrounds’ website, www.oxfordcountyfair.com/schedule/.

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