Employees Paul Gilbert, left, and Georgia Tolman wash down picnic tables Wednesday at the Farmington Fairgrounds. They, along with others including volunteer Larry Porter, have been working all summer to prepare for the fair, which runs Sept. 18 to 24. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — The 181st Farmington Fair is fast approaching.

The fair will be held Sept. 18 to 24 and is sponsored by the Franklin County Agricultural Society.

“I think we are going to have a good array of vendors this year,” fair secretary Neal Yeaton said Wednesday. “The Starbird Building is full. The Elks area will have food trucks. They needed a deeper space. Last year they were able to turn sideways. This year they are going to be better.”

In August, the section of the Exhibition Hall where Farmington Elks Lodge #2430 had served meals was torn down after organizers determined it would be too costly to fix all the repairs that were needed.

Vendors will also be found in the Beano building, said Glenda Barker, who is in charge of the Exhibition Hall.

The fair will open at noon Monday through Friday this year, which is a change. Events begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18, with barrel racing, and at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, with the Heart of Maine Dairy Goat Show.

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“It is just during the week most buildings are opening at noon,” Yeaton said.

The museum located at the end of the Exhibition Hall includes fair memorabilia such as this menu board taken from the Elks food booth prior to its demolition. Jeff O’Donnell has made several other changes for visitors to Farmington Fair to view this year. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

The Exhibition Hall will open as usual as tickets are sold there, Barker said.

The increase in minimum wage and the fact that people aren’t out and about earlier were factors in the decision, Yeaton said.

“Your overhead just keeps going up and up,” he noted.

The Chamber of Commerce is moving their booth from the Exhibition Hall to the Starbird Building, Yeaton said. The schoolhouse and library buildings will be open as will the one featuring maple products manned by Maine Maple Syrup Producers Association. Western Maine Beekeepers and Western Maine Blacksmiths will be doing demonstrations. Unfortunately, Michael Chase will not be doing woodturning demos this year, however.

“He wishes he could come,” Yeaton said.

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The Exhibition Hall will feature four adult farm displays, a youth display and a school display, Barker said. There will only be two 4-H educational displays and the number of 4-H hall entries may be down this year, she noted.

The 4-H livestock auction won’t take place this year but is already being organized for next year.

Because of an avian flu outbreak, there will be no poultry on the fairgrounds. Mike Turner previously said he would have some posters and educational materials in the poultry barn but the cages will be empty.

Yeaton noted the number of sheep on display may be down this year after the passing of exhibitor Joe Miller. His wife is bringing some sheep, but about a third of what was typical, he added.

There will be a 4-H Belted Galloway show Tuesday at 4 p.m. followed by an open show where anyone from the state may compete, he said.

Rupert Pratt, who is in charge of livestock at the fair, said dairy and beef will be fairly close to what they have been. Lane Barnyard Animals are returning, he noted.

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“Jeff O’Donnell has made quite a few changes in the museum at the end of the Exhibition Hall,” Yeaton said. Local historical societies had overseen that museum but it was getting harder for them to do it, he noted. O’Donnell is also making changes in the Agricultural Museum, he added.

Cushing Amusements are returning and have already brought some things, Yeaton said. One vendor has brought some of her food booths already, he added.

The pulling schedule should be pretty full, and it has been good around the state this year, Yeaton said. He is hoping for full fields rather than four or five horse for each of the races every afternoon.

“You need seven, eight is better (per race) but seven will do,” he noted.

“We didn’t make a lot of changes this year,” Pratt said.

“We are going to have a good week,” Yeaton said.

For more information call 207-778-6083 or visit the Farmington Fair Facebook page.


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