BANGOR, Maine — It was tough to tell what was the more difficult task Saturday at the 162nd Bangor State Fair: Finding shade to get out of a brilliant, blazing sun or finding an open parking spot.
Cars lined both sides of almost all the streets within a four-block radius of the Bangor fairgrounds and as soon as one would leave its spot, another car or truck was waiting to take its place.
“We went over to the main parking lot off Main, but right when I got there they said they were full,” said Megan White, who drove into town to hit the fair with friend Emily Hallowell. “So we came back over here and got one of the last spots in the [BDN] newspaper lot.”
White said the extra 10 minutes it took to find a spot and the $5 parking charge were no big deal.
White came to hang out with her brother and get a doughboy. Hallowell had a different reason for coming.
“This used to be an annual thing, but I haven’t been in quite a few years,” said Hallowell, who lives in China. “Why this year? I just wanted to get out of town.”
That wasn’t the same reason for the Hannan family of Bangor.
“We parked a little further up from where we normally do, but it wasn’t too bad,” said Ed Hannan. “We have to come and have at least a doughboy and some fries.”
Although Bass Park executive director Mike Dyer said the recently begun site preparation and work for the new Bangor arena would have “no impact on the fair,” the building of four construction office trailers on the left parking area off Dutton Street has eliminated about 40 parking spaces.
Kylie Hackett, a Bangor Y welcome center associate working as a parking attendant at the fair lot off Dutton at the main entrance, said she wasn’t hearing any complaints about parking.
“We haven’t had any problems except trying to get out, because now one side is closed off. So that’s the only issue,” Hackett said of the two-lane entrance compacted into one.
Hackett’s main concern Saturday was staying hydrated in the heat.
“We have a bus full of water and Gatorade and we keep a bottle with us all the time,” she said.
Longtime Bass Park employee Dick Pendleton of Bangor was working the entrance off Buck Street. The part-time security attendant said there were few issues regarding parking.
“Not today anyway. I haven’t noticed anything,” said Pendleton, who has worked the fair for nine of the 11 years he has been employed with Bass Park. “They’ll just park all the way up the street here and onto the other streets to get a place.”
According to Dyer, the Bangor State Fair has a 2011 operating budget of $425,000-475,000 and uses a staff of seven full-time employees along with another 40-50 part-time workers who are Bass Park employees working extra hours. The Fair continues through the week and closes at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7.