A young child looks on as a sheep is sheared at the Union Fair in August 2009. Credit: Abigail Curtis / BDN

The 150th Union Fair and Maine Wild Blueberry Festival kicks off this weekend for a weeklong schedule of events, which this year includes a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

The fair would have celebrated its 150th anniversary last year. However, the annual event was canceled due to the pandemic. The Union Fair is one of numerous fairs and festivals that have made a comeback in Maine this summer as pandemic restrictions eased, though cases continue to rise.

The pandemic caused planning difficulties for fair organizers, who were ultimately unable to secure their regular midway vendor. The fair will take place without carnival games or rides this year.

“So what do you do when you are handed a bunch of lemons? You make lemonade. We are pleased to announce the addition of many new activities as well as the traditional ones that make an agricultural fair so special,” Union Fair organizers said on the event’s website.

Among the new events is the inaugural Union Fair Mud Run, which will take place on Aug. 28, closing out the fair. The event will feature truck drivers competing through a muddy obstacle course.

Other events on the fair’s schedule include livestock pulling and exhibitions, 4-H shows and demonstrations, a demolition derby, fireworks, concerts and plenty of blueberry treats.

This will also be the first year where a Maine Wild Blueberry Ambassador will be chosen. Previously the position was called the Maine Wild Blueberry Queen, and the contest was only open to young women.

This year organizers changed the name to reflect an ambassadorship and it is open to any Maine high school graduate between the ages of 17 to 22, regardless of gender, according to the fair’s website.

The winner of the first Maine Wild Blueberry Ambassador contest will be announced on Sunday.

On Thursday Aug. 26, a COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be held inside the fair’s restaurant building from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. No appointments are needed, and those who get a shot will receive a free one-day admission pass to the fair.

The clinic is being organized by the fair, the Union Ambulance Service, Knox County Emergency Management Agency and the Maine Center for Disease Control Division of Public Health Nursing.

The Union Fair runs Aug. 21- 28.