A Day At A Maine Agricultural Fair

By Terry Golson


World events getting you down? Feeling overwhelmed? A small-town agricultural fair in Maine can replenish what the news has depleted.

It’s a place where girls in tutus and cowboy boots feel right at home.

 

It’s where well-loved animals ask strangers for nose scratches.

 

 

(Note that if that massive ox wanted to walk away from there – dragging the entire fence with him, he could!)

It’s where a man walks his team around the fairgrounds,

 

just so they can give people kisses.

 

If you go into the farm museum, you’ll see that oxen have long helped people of this community do their work.

 

Speaking of work, it’s where you can watch horses and their people show off their skills at what they do to earn a living. Many people still use horses for logging.

 

It’s where there’s an entire building to display what children are learning.

 

Along with the crafts and art,

 

there are posters that show off projects. I was thrilled to see this one about helmets.

 

Out by the barns, there are groups of teenagers from the local high school, sitting quietly. They were intently observing and sketching the animals at the fair. I didn’t see a single phone in hand. They all looked content. Why doesn’t every art class get their kids out to places like this? What about not just art classes?

It’s not all about education. It’s about fun, too.

Some people think that spending a summer doting on a giant pumpkin is the best pastime. To each their own.

 

Of course there’s a midway. But it’s not too scary.

 

The carousel is elaborate.

 

These aren’t the only horses that go around in circles. Maine has a long tradition of standardbred racing at fairs, with homegrown and trained horses doing the trotting.

 

An agricultural fair is a noisy place.

 

But at a small fair like this, there are pockets of calm. You can contemplate the jarred food.

 

In a shadowy barn, you can catch fragments of conversation among old friends,

 

and be in awe of their horses. These are the weightlifters of the equine world.

 

The Maine fair season is almost over. I’m grateful to have had a day at one.

Do you have a small agricultural fair in your community? Or something similar? Tell me about it in the comments!


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14 thoughts on “A Day At A Maine Agricultural Fair

  • Kim

    Oh my gosh, I love this post! The photos are beautiful! And how awesome that the young people are not glued to their phones? After reading this, I’m really going to try to get to one this year.

  • Jan

    Wonderful blog, great pictures, would love to be able to get that near to cattle again. Our fairs here are far to large and commercial. Looks like you had a great time, so envious 🙂

  • Laura Allemand

    My daughter grew up showing her 4H projects at our local fair, the Calaveras County Fair, made famous in Mark Twain’s story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. A lot of your pictures could have been taken at our fair. Like your fair, ours is filled with kids showing off their hard work of raising fair animals, and creating beautiful arts and crafts projects, but in addition we have a jumping frog competition! Our fair is so popular in our small county, that our schools are closed for the three days of fair! In this computer age we live in, I think there is no better way for a kid to grow up. Someone will need to feed us in the future!

  • Gin

    We have a state fair and a county fair, similar to yours except for the Standardbred racing (which I would love to see). A lot of the kids around here show animals of one kind or another. Once a man demonstrated plowing with oxen. It’s really slow, and hard work walking behind the plow. Sure makes you think about the patience, hard times, and strength the early pioneers had. Loved the pictures. Brought back lots of memories.

  • Tracy

    I have such a weakness for drafts. Something about the earnestness with which they go about their work. Combine those lovely, soft, powerful animals with an old farmer (old men get me every time), caring for or tending them with the gentle and predictable actions that both the horse and the man know so well…and I just think it’s one of the finest things to watch.

  • Starlucy

    I was one of those kids who displayed 4-H crafts. Decades ago, now. I made cookies, bread, a hooked rug, and other ribbon worthy efforts. Being a girl, I was not allowed to raise a calf, or chickens at the time, but that came for others and I enjoyed watching young-lady relatives showing their lambs and calves. Fairs are wonderful and aromatic places. I miss the fragrance of frying onions. I miss the sounds of the animals and the engines on the whirling rides, and the booming voice of the Bingo caller!