Organizers pleased by fair numbers

Posted Aug. 12, 2009, at 8:16 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:43 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Everything about the Northern Maine Fair was up, fair president Andy LeBlanc said Wednesday.

Attendance was up. The number of contest entrants was up. Positive comments were up.

With news like that, LeBlanc said, there is no way the spirits of fair organizers could not be up as well.

“We had a great fair this year,” he said. “We received lots of compliments. A number of those compliments were from people who had not come to the fair for several years and were surprised at all of the changes we had made. Everyone I talked to had a great time.”

The 155th annual event ran from July 31 to Aug. 8.

The Northern Maine Music Festival also took place on the fairgrounds. In its fifth year, the festival showcased a variety of music during its nine days.

LeBlanc said fair attendance was up 12 percent to 13 percent over last year.

“We changed things over the past few years and we will continue to change some things,” he said. “But we were very happy with all of the positive feedback we received.”

Smokey’s Greater Shows provided the midway entertainment, and livestock, educational and antique equipment displays were set up. Cooking contests and truck, tractor and horse pulls also were scheduled, along with the popular Demolition Derby.

LeBlanc said Family Fun Day on Aug. 4 was a big draw.

“We had fireworks that night and we got a ton of compliments on the fireworks,” he said. “People were so pleased.”

Another big draw was Pamela Rosaire-Zoppe, a longtime rescuer and trainer of chimpanzees. She and husband Roger Zoppe claim to have the last traveling chimpanzee act in the nation.

The chimp show took place twice a day during the week and three times on the weekends.

“That was a big draw, and so was the Freestyle MX Bike Show,” said LeBlanc. “We even had more people entering contests this year and taking part in the games and other events.”

LeBlanc credited the weather with having a significant impact on the fair’s success. The president noted that fairgoers experienced only one rainy day during the entire event.

Fair organizers are tabulating final figures from the event, but already are thinking about next year.

“We have already begun planning for our 2010 fair,” LeBlanc said Wednesday.

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