New sights and sounds at the 166th Bangor State Fair

Posted July 24, 2014, at 4:47 p.m.
Last modified July 24, 2014, at 7:15 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine —- Singer John Fogerty, emu racing and a circular roller coaster are some of the attractions at the 2014 Bangor State Fair. The 166th edition of the fair, which is the first to be run by the management company for the Cross Insurance Center, opens Friday, July 25 and runs until Sunday, Aug. 3.

“This is my first Bangor State fair and obviously there is new management, but I think it’s an exciting new opportunity for our company, Global Spectrum, to do what we can to further the 166-year history of the Bangor State Fair and see where we can go from here,” said Joe Imbriaco, general manager of Cross Insurance Center and Global Spectrum, at a press event Thursday.

The cost of admission remains unchanged from last year, $12 per person, and there is a new opening time of noon, two hours earlier than previous years. The closing time of 10:30 p.m. will remain unchanged.

Headlining the 2014 edition of the Bangor State Fair will be a live performance by John Fogerty at 7:30 pm on Aug. 2 at the Cross Insurance Center. There is a $49 cover charge that will ensure a seat at the concert as well as admission to the fairgrounds.

According to Imbriaco, there will be a survey on the Cross Insurance Center website after the fair is over so that people can rate their experience and suggest things that they would like to see implemented next year. Imbriaco hopes the fair will attract around 60,000 people over its course.

“Year over year we’re not intending to stay the same. We’re intending to grow over the next several years as things move forward,” Imbriaco said.

The fair will feature a blend of old and new. Classic events and features that have been brought back, such as truck pulls and a lobster roll-eating competition, will be set alongside new events and attractions, such as daily emu racing and a 70-foot-tall roller coaster loop called Fireball.

Bangor City Councilman Gibran Graham was on hand to try out the new Fireball ride, which turned out to be a major test of digestive fortitude.

“It’s pretty exhilarating … It’s definitely a ride you go on before you eat,” Graham said.

Once the Fireball starts, the roller coaster rocks forward and then backward inside a giant loop, gaining momentum as it climbs higher. Eventually it completes the loop. The coaster then stops upside down before changing direction and looping the other way, eventually slowing to a stop at the bottom of the loop.

Two demolition derbies will be held, one on Thursday, July 31 and the other on Friday, Aug. 1. The July 31 show will be of particular interest due to the entry of a faux police cruiser by the Bangor Police Department.

They hope to donate the $1,500 winner’s purse to the Special Olympics. This may be difficult for them, because some competitors may be gunning to take advantage of their only chance to legally hit a police car.

As with any state fair, the various booths and tents are just as much a part of the fair as the rides and performers. For Yoyo Xiao, who operates a portrait booth on the fairgrounds, this will mark his first Bangor State Fair experience.

Xiao, who came to the U.S. from China, graduated from Pratt Institute in New York and now works for Atelier Hay, an art and architectural design firm out of Brooklyn, New York. Xiao has been doing cartoon portraits for customers at the New York State Fair for 10 years and is excited about what the next week will bring.

“[A] friend told me this is a very good state. The weather is so beautiful,” Xiao said. “It’s going to be fun.”