FARMINGTON — Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17, found many individuals facing off against others in several contests on the opening day of Farmington Fair.

Howard Welch of Lebanon maneuvers his steers Buster and Posey through the 4-H working steer cart class Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17, at Farmington Fair. Eight youth from across the state showcased the time and effort they had spent this year training their animals to navigate through the assigned course. Howard and his steers took first place in his age division. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Next to Worthley Arena, seven youth stood near their steers and watched while Howard Welch of Lebanon maneuvered his pair of brockle face steers, Buster and Posey through the cart class course. Welch and his Hereford/milking shorthorn crossbred steers would eventually be declared the winners in the junior division.

There are eight kids here showing their steers in the working steer classes, Kristen Grondin, University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H community education assistant for Franklin County, said. “Quite a few will be going to Eastern States Exposition [in West Springfield, Massachusetts to compete against other New England 4-H members],” she noted. “The beef, working steer and horse kids all leave Thursday.”

Henzley Quimby, two-years old of Starks stops for a moment Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17, while leading a lamb named Gogo around the Farmington Fairgrounds. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

There were more kids showing their working steers steers than expected, so it was taking longer, Tara Marble, University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development specialist, said.

Judy Smith of East Dixfield served as judge for the 4-H working steer show. She was also organizer for the costume and pie eating contests scheduled for later that afternoon in the arena. As a result, the costume contest was delayed an hour.

Only two or three youth were expected to compete in the working steer classes, so scheduling shouldn’t have been affected, Smith said between events. “It was good to see so many in the working steer classes again,” she stated.


During the costume contest Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17, from left Adalyn Sweat, Cara Nichols, Elise Nichols and Reagan Decker show off their costumes in Worthley Arena at the Farmington Fair. With four categories in the contest, each youngster went home a winner. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

While the families of two boys decided not to return for the costume contest, four young ladies did.

Three year olds Adalyn Sweat came as a cowgirl, Reagan Decker as a scarecrow, and Cara Nichols as Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Cara’s four year old sister Elise Nichols was a princess.

The girls marched around the arena, often stopping to twirl in place as the judges made the challenging choice of who would win which prize. With four categories, each girl would be a winner, Smith said.

Reagan’s costume was named most creative, Adalyn’s the cutest, Elise’s the prettiest and Cara’s the most colorful. Each girl received a red, barn-themed cloth backpack and a miniature pumpkin.

Six year old Sawyer Jacobs of Mt. Vernon reaches for a stuffed dog Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17, he won on the midway at Farmington Fair. He beat out five others in the Rising Waters game. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

At the Rising Waters game on the midway, six-year old Sawyer Jacobs of Mt. Vernon emerged victorious against four other youth and an adult. He was able to keep his stream of water aimed at the bulls-eye most effectively to reach the top first. Sawyer was determined to claim a large stuffed dog over a monkey and other choices as his prize. He joyfully caught it by the nose when the dog was finally handed to him.

The entry by Little Bunnies Daycare, owned by Joy Turner of Jay is seen Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17, near the Robert McCleery Memorial Garden at the Farmington Fair. Eleven youth and area non-profit groups entered the hay bale decorating contest, a new event this year. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

In the Exhibition Hall, worker Maggie Cook was busy verifying winners in the flower show. There were fewer entries than usual this year, perhaps due to the wet summer and the wind and rain on Saturday.


Community Grange #593 in East Wilton earned first place for both its fancywork and larger grange exhibits. Farmington Grange #12 took second for its grange display while Mill Stream Grange #574 in Vienna received second for fancywork.

Earning best of show ribbons in the 4-H exhibits were 16 year old Emeline Vining of Freeman Township for her woodworking dragon box; 10 year old Lucia Marble of Fayette for her variegated weaving and 12 year old Lindee Woodsum of Jay for her 4th of July Gnome.

Kendrick Williamson, 15 of Farmington, starts to slip Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17, while riding the mechanical bull at Farmington Fair. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

At the mechanical bull ride, 15 year old Kendrick Williamson of Farmington made it through several gyrations before falling to the mat.

Back at  Worthley Arena anticipation was building for the pie eating contest. The inside bleachers were filled as were most of the outside ones. Several youth ran around the tables set up in the arena while waiting for the contest to start.

Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Because of its popularity, more divisions were added to the contest this year. Six contestants each lined up for the youth divisions.

For the five and six year olds, Bryndle Currier of New Sharon and Tucker Blakeman of Wilton, both five years old were neck and neck for most of the contest. Tucker at one point pressed his hands into the table and lifted his feet off the ground but it was all for naught as Bryndle cleared her plate of the apple pie and whipped cream first.


“It’s a good thing you didn’t give up,” Smith told Bryndle.

Judy Smith of East Dixfield at right holds up the hand of Gantley Beane, eight years old of Farmington Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17, in the Worthley Arena at Farmington Fair. Gantley was declared winner in the seven and eight year old division of the pie eating contest. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

In the seven and eight year old group, eight year old Gantley Beane of Farmington had his plate fall to the ground. Luckily, it landed right side up so he was able to put it back and continue gobbling up the little bit remaining to emerge victorious.

Nine year old Ezailia Webber was the first to clear her plate amongst the nine to 11 year olds.

“This was very close, you all did a good job.” Smith noted.

Each participant received a participation ribbon and a gift card to Cushing Amusements, the company in charge of the midway at the fair.

Jillian Lewis of Biddeford at left and Zachary Blakeman of Wilton compete Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17, in the adult division of the pie eating contest in Worthley Arena at Farmington Fair. Lewis, who was just visiting the fair was the eventual winner. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Next up were the adults. Jillian Lewis of Biddeford just happened to be at the fair and decided to compete when no one else stepped forward to go against Zachary Blakeman of Wilton.


Smith originally planned to give each contestant half an apple pie covered in whipped cream but took pity on them and cut quarter sized pieces instead.

“Go light on the whipped cream,” Blakeman joked. “I took the calories out!” Smith responded.

Blakeman gave it his all, but Lewis appeared to have the upper hand to begin with.

“Dad, this is gross,” Blakeman’s son exclaimed at one point.

“Oh boy, this is close,” Smith noted a bit later.

“That was my free pie for the day,” Lewis said after being declared the winner.

“It was fun,” Blakeman noted. “Now I can say I have gotten into a pie eating contest. I never had. My boys wanted me to.”

Among the prizes Lewis received were a blue rosette and a coffee mug engraved with Farmington Fair pie eating champion.

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