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Throngs flock to Blue Hill fair

Posted Sept. 03, 2011, at 5:29 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 04, 2011, at 7:03 p.m.
Bruce Bryant, an official with the Blue Hill Fair livestock pulling competition, holds ribbons on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, as a team of oxen parades behind him. The livestock competition is one of several events being held this weekend at the fair, which is held each year during Labor Day weekend.
Bruce Bryant, an official with the Blue Hill Fair livestock pulling competition, holds ribbons on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, as a team of oxen parades behind him. The livestock competition is one of several events being held this weekend at the fair, which is held each year during Labor Day weekend.
Marie Wilson of Bucksport uses a blower to get Magpie ready on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, for the junior calf competition at the annual Blue Hill Fair.
Marie Wilson of Bucksport uses a blower to get Magpie ready on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, for the junior calf competition at the annual Blue Hill Fair.

BLUE HILL, Maine —- The term “fair weather” can be interpreted two different ways, but either interpretation was appropriate Saturday as throngs of people showed up at the fairgrounds on Route 172.

Light rain was reported in some eastern Maine towns Saturday morning, but no more than a few drops fell on the Blue Hill Fair, which is held each year on Labor Day weekend. Rob Eaton, president of the fair, said Saturday that the cloudy weather was ideal.

“It’s actually a great fair day,” Eaton said. “It’s not hot and it’s not cold.”
Eaton said the five-day fair, which got under way Thursday, typically draws between 25,000 and 30,000 people each year. Most of those show up on Saturday, Sunday and the Labor Day holiday on Monday, he said.

This year’s fair, which runs through Monday evening, has much of the usual fare of carnival rides, games of chance, food booths and livestock events such as horse and oxen pulls. Live shows such as the Great Maine Lumberjack Show, juggler Brent McCoy, piglet and dachshund races, blueberry pie eating and the women’s skillet tossing competitions, musical performances and others also are part of the lineup.

The fair has two new events this year, Eaton said. One is a motorcycle stunt show scheduled for Saturday afternoon, and the other is a Blue Hill Fair Idol contest. The “American Idol”-inspired singing competition has rounds spread out through the fair schedule, with the finals scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, he said.

A wristband special will be offered Monday, he said. For $20, people can have unlimited access to the fair’s mechanical rides from 2 to 9 p.m.

Eaton said a lot of people attend the fair as an end-of-summer tradition. Parents with school-age children bring them to the fair before school starts up, and seasonal visitors attend the fair as an end-of-summer finale before heading home for the winter.

“It’s a ‘harvest the gardens and stack up the wood’ kind of thing,” Eaton said.

One of the big draws Saturday was the livestock shows and displays. While teams of oxen and horses competed nearby to pull heavy concrete weights, Marie Wilson of Bucksport was busy getting ready to show a calf raised by her family at Family Tradition Farm. The junior calf competition was going to be the first competition ever for the calf, which was named Magpie, Wilson said.

Wilson said the weather Saturday was better than other fairs he and her family have attended recently. Last week, they were in New Hampshire for another fair when 5 inches of rain fell, she said.

“It’s better than when [Tropical Storm] Irene came through when we were in Dover,” Wilson said.

Eden Abbott and Jon Mitchell of Bar Harbor had spent several hours at the fair Saturday when they headed back toward their car around 2:30 p.m. They said they had ridden some of the rides, viewed some of the livestock displays and competitions and eaten “a lot” of food. Abbott held a yellow stuffed gorilla in her hand, a prize from one of the fair’s game booths.

“You’ve got to see the earless goats,” Abbott said with a laugh. “They’re really creepy.”

Both enjoyed watching the lumberjack show, especially the logrolling, which Mitchell called “impressive.” Their favorite thing, however, may have been the fried baloney sandwich they shared.

“That was really good,” Abbott said.

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