161st Bangor State Fair to open today

Posted July 29, 2010, at 11:41 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The gates wouldn’t open for another 24 hours, but there was a bustle of energy inside Bass Park on Thursday afternoon as the finishing touches were put on setting up the 161st Bangor State Fair.

Bass Park Director Mike Dyer, who held a media event to announce some changes for this year’s event, said if the weather holds out, the fair could draw 75,000 patrons over the 10-day event.

Dyer said fair-goers can expect to see many of the things they have come to enjoy, including a massive midway coordinated by E.J. Dean of Fiesta Shows, but there will also be some new attractions. Among them are the Aussie Kingdom show, which features kangaroos and other Australian mammals, and Dave Smith, better known as the Human Cannonball.

“For $10, I think this is the best deal around,” Dyer said.

Bangor State Fair organizers switched to a flat fee structure last year and saw a huge spike in attendance. The fee includes admittance to the fair, access to all shows and unlimited rides.

City Councilor Rick Bronson said it has been a smart decision so far.

“I think I can speak for all nine councilors that I’m extraordinarily pleased with the results last year,” Bronson said.

For the first time, the Bangor State Fair also will boast a smoke-free midway. Dyer said smoking kiosks have been set up to keep smokers away from other fair-goers while they are smoking.

The fair will open at 2 p.m. Friday and runs through Sunday, Aug. 8. For a full schedule of events, visit its website: www.bangorstatefair.com.

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