FARMINGTON — Friday afternoon, Sept. 15, found several people gathered at Worthley Arena near the Maple Avenue entrance to the Farmington Fairgrounds as they worked on an entry for the hay bale decorating contest.

Caroline Swain, two years old, paints a worm pink Friday afternoon, Sept. 15, outside Worthley Arena on the Farmington Fairgrounds. The worm will be part of the Root and Bloom homeschool cooperative’s entry in the hay bale decorating contest, a new contest at the fair this year. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

The contest is one of several new events at the fair this year.

Tyler Jenness of Chesterville had seen a similar contest at Topsham Fair and suggested bringing it to Farmington to support youth groups and area non-profits.

“There are 11 entries,” he said Friday afternoon. “We moved the bales into Worthley Arena to protect the decorations from the wind and rain predicted for tomorrow. Sunday they will be moved and set up around the garden [next to the 4-H Beef Boosters booth].”

The fair board was all for the event, Jenness noted. He said one group was decorating a bale as an apple, another as an octopus and the Franklin County 4-H Beef Club was going with a Jack-O-Lantern theme.

“I am interested in seeing what the kids come up with,” he added. “I don’t know what the rest of them will come up with.”


The Root and Bloom homeschool cooperative from the Franklin County area was busy painting cardboard cutouts shaped as worms bright pink. A bale painted to resemble a red apple would be embellished with the pink bookworms and several books for the group’s entry, parent Victoria Staples said. The homeschool group has 70 students, she noted.

Later students were shown how to cover their palm with white paint, then leave their handprint on the apple. They then lined up and eagerly awaited their turn, later using a pail of water and towel to wipe the paint off their hand.

Across the fairgrounds, there was some activity in the Exhibition Hall located along High Street.

Holly, Riley and Cooper Tardif from Hartford were busy arranging canned vegetables and tacking brown-checked fabric along the edge of the table featuring their farm display. “We have done this many years, ever since I can remember,” Holly said.

Sara Wade from Wade Farm in Starks and Nancy Kiernan with Boulder Run Farm in Farmington were also seen putting their displays together.

Freida Smith and Karen Locke were seen adding labels to a display of canned goods in the Grange exhibit from Community Grange #593 in East Wilton. Mavis Lane was tasked with providing the white labels she meticulously measured from card stock.

“I thought we would have more entries coming in today [because of the weather predictions],” Maggie Cook, one of the staff working in the hall, said. “All of the tables have been signed up for. It’s going to be another full year, there will be lots for people to see.”

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