BLUE HILL, Maine — The animals hadn’t started arriving yet on Tuesday, but the sawdust was in the stalls, crews were busy putting together the midway rides, and a variety of game and food booths had started popping up on the Blue Hill Fair grounds.
Billed as a “Down to Earth Country Fair,” the event is gearing up for the start of its 119th season. The fair will run from Thursday, Sept. 2, through Labor Day, Sept. 6.
“I think we’ve put together a pretty good mix of agriculture, thrills and entertainment,” Rob Eaton, the fair president, said Tuesday. “I can’t point to any one big attraction. I think the whole fair is the big attraction.”
The fair is still a traditional agriculture fair that features draft horse and oxen pulling, as well as the relatively new antique tractor pulling contest, 4-H and Open Livestock Shows, harness racing and the popular sheep dog trials.
“The barns are full this year,” Eaton said. “We’re pretty pleased with that. The arts and crafts sections have been busy all day bringing in exhibits and the carnival is in pretty good shape.”
Entertainment has always been a big part of the fair’s attraction and this year will be no different. The country music band Restless Heart will be the featured group, performing at 6 p.m. on Labor Day. Other performances on the Grandstand Stage will include Birdie Googins, “The Marden’s Lady”; comedian Juston McKinney, a Maine native who has appeared on the Conan O’Brien show and Comedy Central; Rick Charette & the Bubblegum Band; and the popular Women’s Skillet Toss.
Now in its third year at the fair, the Midway Stage attracts its own crowd with an eclectic mix of acts. Eaton said he scours the region to find acts that are different.
“Each year I draw a circle 100 miles around Blue Hill and I try to find acts from various points within that circle,” he said. “I try to keep it fairly local and I’m always looking for something that’s a little different.”
This year, Midway Stage will feature musical acts with styles ranging from country, rock, blues and funk, to jazz, male barbershop quartet and doo-wop, mixed in with appearances from Brent McCoy, a comic juggler who bills his act as “Blunder Construction.”
Eaton did not appear concerned about the threat from Hurricane Earl, which could bring wind and rain to the Maine coast on Friday and Saturday. Although forecasts call for rain late Friday and early Saturday, Eaton said it appeared that the storm would be fast-moving and be gone quickly.
“I don’t think there’s going to be that big an impact,” he said. “If it rains, we’ll do what everybody else does. We’ll make the best of it.”
The fair opens at 4 p.m. Thursday. Admission that day will be $5 for adults. Admission on Saturday, Sunday and Monday is $8. A Thank God It’s Friday admission special on Friday offers graduated admission fees starting at $1 and working up throughout the day to $6. Friday is also Senior Day with senior fees following the same schedule up to a maximum of $4. Children under 12 are admitted free.
A full schedule of the fair events and attractions is available on the fair website at www.bluehillfair.com.