BLUE HILL, Maine — The doughboys and french fries aren’t frying yet; the lime drinks aren’t fizzing and the cotton candy isn’t spinning.
But crews are setting up tents and filling stalls with sawdust, and on the midway they are setting up the merry-go-round and the Ferris wheel in preparation for the 2009 edition of the Blue Hill Fair. The fair starts at 4 p.m. Thursday and runs through Labor Day.
The long-term weather forecast looks promising for a dry weekend for the fair, according to fair superintendent Rob Eaton.
“With 10 inches of rain on the last two weekends, it looks like we’re going to get a decent one,” Eaton said Tuesday. “I think that’s something everybody is looking forward to.”
The fair is always a mixture of old favorites and some new attractions, according to Eaton.
“Some things change, but most stay the same,” Eaton said Tuesday as he drove around the fairgrounds checking on the progress and answering questions from vendors. “It’s a balancing act. You’ve got to have new things, but folks also want to see the same things they saw as kids when they bring their kids here.”
With the economy the way it is, Eaton said, this was not the year to make a major expansion at the fair. But there are a few additions, including the New England Trampoline Show and Rosie’s Racing Pigs, both of which will show several times each day of the fair.
Entertainment has become a big attraction at the fair, and the Blue Hill Fair offers music and entertainment in two locations. For the third year in a row, the fair will have acts on the Midway Stage, a second entertainment venue which has become a popular location, featuring more local acts.
“We have a lot of variety on the second stage,” Eaton said. “Jazz, polka, country, rock, a little blues, funk; and most of the bands are from a 100-mile radius of Blue Hill.”
There is more entertainment at the grandstand including the Imperial Stunt Drivers, antique-tractor pulling, and the traditional Sunday night fireworks display. The country band Ricochet will close out the fair with a performance on Labor Day.
For 118 years, the fair has been an agricultural event and the organizers at Blue Hill Fair strive to continue that aspect. The livestock area will be filling up today with farm animals that will compete in the show ring and in the pulling ring — horses, sheep, goats, dairy and beef cattle, pulling horses and oxen.
Eaton said that agricultural superintendent Mylon Staples has worked hard to bring a wide variety of animals to the fair this year.
“Mylon has done a lot of recruiting trying to generate interest from exhibitors,” he said. “It’s tough because there are not many farms in Hancock County anymore. I think we’re very fortunate this year to have good support and a good variety of animals.”
The fair will offer special “TGIF” pricing on Friday featuring a graduated fee during the day. Admission on Friday will begin at $1 through 2 p.m. and will increase $1 each hour until 6 p.m. when it reaches $6. Friday also is senior citizens day, and seniors will pay a maximum of $4.
“With the economy such as it is, we wanted to offer a chance to everyone to enjoy a day at the fair at a fairly inexpensive cost,” Eaton said. “There are a lot of things to do here during the day where you don’t have to spend a lot of money.”
Admission is $5 on Thursday and $8 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. A full schedule of fair events is available at www.bluehillfair.com.