PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — With prices on the rise, organizers of the Northern Maine Fair have taken steps to make the event friendly to families and to offer more for their money.
The 155th annual fair will run from July 31 to Aug. 8.
The Northern Maine Music Festival also will be taking place on the fairgrounds. This is the festival’s fifth year, and a variety of music will be showcased over nine days.
This year’s fair will feature something for all age groups, and a number of new events are on tap to lure newcomers to the fairgrounds.
“This is going to be a great event,” Andrew LeBlanc, fair president, said Friday. “We have a good mix of old and new events on the schedule, which we believe will cater to everyone.”
The midway will be provided by Smokey’s Greater Shows, and the customary livestock and antique equipment displays are on tap. Cooking contests, truck, tractor and horse pulls also are scheduled.
The popular Demolition Derby also will return.
LeBlanc said Family Fun Day, set for Tuesday, Aug 4., is always a big draw.
Events such as the pig scramble, games, a freestyle MX show and a princess and pirate party will be held, as well as evening fireworks.
New events also have been planned this year.
LeBlanc said fair organizers first introduced animal acts several years ago, and they have grown in popularity. This year, organizers have scheduled Pamela Rosaire-Zoppe, a longtime chimpanzee rescuer and trainer. She and husband Roger Zoppe have the last traveling chimpanzee act in the nation.
The chimp show will take place twice a day during the week and three times on the weekends.
The 1st Top of Maine Carving Competition and Sale Show will run noon to 8 p.m. July 31-Aug. 2 in the Forestry Building.
Organizers are gathering artisans from throughout the state to participate in the woodcarving competition. Artwork such as bird carvings and historical pieces will be on display throughout the show.
Fairgoers will see an improved Agricultural Exhibit Hall this year. The hall will feature a live demonstration area where crowds can watch presentations on flower arranging, photography and more. Cooking contests also will be held in the facility. The hall has been revamped to provide a new setting for exhibits.
The Ladies Pavilion also has additions, including a photo booth where children can pose with favorite fair characters. Cooking demonstrations also will be held in the pavilion.
LeBlanc acknowledged that this was a more difficult planning year, as organizers were conscious about the economy.
“We started planning last year,” he said Friday. “We decided to just give people more to come to. They can come here and take part in all sorts of activities. They can really have a full day of fun here without breaking the bank.”
LeBlanc credited organizers, volunteers and sponsors with creating “a great fair.”
“People are going to love it,” he said Friday.
Ticket prices are $7 for those age 13 and older, $2 for ages 7 to 12. Children 6 and under get in free. Weekly passes are $35 for 13 and older, $10 for ages 7 to 12.
For information on the fair, go to www.northernmainefair.com.