Attendees at the Bangor State Fair this year will notice a big change to the fair’s layout, most notably an expanded midway and kiddie area, and a new indoor area in the Cross Insurance Center.
The fair, the 170th edition of which kicks off Thursday, will feature most of the things fairgoers have come to expect, such as rides, fair food, an agricultural area and demonstrations, live music, and a demolition derby and tractor pull.
But the new elements — including an antique and classic car show on the Cross Insurance Center floor, an array of vendors inside the arena, and full access to the arena facilities for the duration of the fair’s 10 days — are part of a long-term plan to modernize many of the fair attractions.
Attendance for the 170-year-old fair has lagged in recent years, but Fair Director Mike Dyer says that each year he and his staff try to add something new, and he specifically hopes to add an indoor marketplace in the arena for the 2020 fair, featuring local and regional vendors. Specific, year-by-year attendance numbers were not available, though the fair website says it draws between 40,000 and 50,000 attendees each year.
“Every year we are trying to add something new and different, and to diversify some of the things the fair offers,” Dyer said. “We’re always going to appeal to families, but we think there’s a lot we can do to appeal to a broader array of adults that might not want to ride rides and play games.”
Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.
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