Maine fair season underway

Cropped Photo: MidwestAGnet.com
Angus steer at a county fair - Cropped Photo: MidwestAGnet.com

AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine Agricultural Fair Season is officially underway, beginning last week with the Maple Meadow Fair Festival in Mapleton and extending into October when Maine holds its largest Fair, the Fryeburg Fair. Maine has twenty-six licensed fairs that take place over the summer and fall, offering visitors opportunities to learn more about agriculture and the communities they take place in.

This year, fairs will be celebrated in a new series of farm-to-fair videos featuring behind the scenes stories of fair participants. They are part of a collaborative effort between the Department and several fair exhibitors to highlight the work and care that goes into traditional activities offered at Maine fairs.

“Through the summer and into fall, Maine’s agricultural fairs showcase our state’s agricultural interests and the communities they are located in,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Maine fairs highlight the continued growth of Maine agriculture and its contributions to our natural resource economy.”

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb highlighted the new series of farm-to-fair videos. “For over 175 years, Maine agricultural fairs have been a part of who we are as a state,” said Whitcomb. “They help connect the public to timeless traditions of rural Maine life. The farm-to-fair videos showcase six important elements of the Maine fair experience: 4-H Show Cattle, Ox Pulling, Horse Pulling, Harness Racing and Barrel Racing. Participants and those who contributed to the creation of this series, have done a great job of capturing the essence of what helps make agricultural fairs unique.”

Quick Facts about Maine’s 2016 Fair Season:

Maine has 26 licensed fairs
760,000 people visited Maine fairs in 2015
$1.65 Million in premiums were paid to exhibitors, directly impacting local economies
Most northern fair: Northern Maine Fair – Presque Isle, ME
Most southern fair: Acton Fair – Acton, ME
Largest fair: Fryeburg Fair (205,000+ visitors)
2,500+ pairs of professional cattle and horses pulled
23,000+ crafts projects were displayed in exhibit halls