Inch by Inch: Harvest Fairs

Posted Wednesday, August 15, 2012 in Sustainable Maine

Inch by Inch: Harvest Fairs

Tomato judging at the Common Ground Fair

Living in a rural state, we really get to go to actual harvest fairs, agricultural fairs located in several regions.  Agricultural fairs show livestock, give prizes for pickles and jam, have contests for the largest pumpkin or the funniest-shaped cucumber or the reddest tomatoes, have sheepdog trials and harness racing, and demonstrate every good way to deal with every problem the organic or urban farmer is likely to experience, from which kind of cream is best to treat a cow with a sore udder to the best way to hang onions in the kitchen.

Oh, and they have a midway, too, I think. With carnival rides and fried dough and snowcones. Many of them do, anyhow. Our favorite annual rite of the harvest, the Common Ground Fair, does not, but most do.

It's relatively easy to share your bounty with your neighbors, to enter a jar of jam or pickles, or your heirloom tomatoes, or even to enter your fanciest chicken or duck in the hopes of winning a blue ribbon.  Check with your local fair to find out what their particular rules are, but in general, you normally have to fill out a form, identifying the ingredients in your jam or pickles, the name of your type of produce, or in the case of livestock, identifying her breed, and simply arrive early on the day of the showing with goods in hand. 

Here's a list of upcoming Agricultural Fairs in Maine:

August

9-18 Skowhegan State Fair @ Skowhegan, Maine
A large agricultural fair featuring a huge midway, animal exhibits, crafts, commercial exhibits, flower show, animal pull events and harness racing.
18-25 Union Fair @ Union, Maine
A large family fair famous for the annual State of Maine Wild Blueberry Festival. Large midway, crafts, animal pull events, harness racing.
23 - 26 Piscataquis Valley Fair @ Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
A miling parlor with home made ice cream, agricultural exhibits, crafts, midway, animal pull events.
23 - 26 Acton Fair @ Acton, Maine
Outstanding exhibits, 4-H, livestock exhibit, flower show, animal pull events, midway.
26 - Sept 3 Windsor Fair @ Windsor, Maine
A large, progressive fair with extensive agricultural, art/crafts exhibits. Large midway, animal pull events, harness racing and mechanical pulling.
30 - Sept 3 Blue Hill Fair @ Blue Hill, Maine
Great country fair, midway, exhibits, non-pari-mutuel racing, animal pull events, entertainment.
31 - Sept 3 Springfield Fair @ Springfield, Maine
Stage show, animal pulling events, antique autos, midway, livestock exhibits.
31 - Sept 3 Harmony Fair @ Harmony, Maine
Free Admission, Free Parking, Stage Shows, Animal and Mechanical Pulling, Midway, Demo Derby, Livestock and Exhibit Hall.

 
September

6 - 9 Clinton Lions Agricultural Fair @ Clinton, Maine
Family atmosphere, midway, animal pull events, mechanical pulling event, exhibits, stage entertainment.
7 - 9 Litchfield Fair @ Litchfield, Maine
Country fair with large midway, agricultural exhibits, livestock, animal pull events. Historical fair museum.
12 - 15 Oxford County Fair @ Oxford, Maine
Livestock shows, animal pull events, midway, crafts, exhibits, and a new harness race track.
14 - 16 New Portland Lion's Fair @ N. New Portland, Maine
Midway, Exhibit Hall, Animal Pull Events, Crafts, Livestock Exhibits.
16 - 22 Farmington Fair @ Farmington, Maine
Large midway, exhibit halls, livestock exhibits, animal pull events, harness racing, demolition derby.
21 - 23 Common Ground Fair @ Unity, Maine
A celebration of rural life, demonstrations, Maine-Organic produced foods and crafts as well as livestock exhibits.
23 - 29 Cumberland Fair @ Cumberland Ctr, Maine
Large exhibit halls, midway and livestock exhibits. Animal pull events and harness racing.
30 - Oct 7 Fryeburg Fair @ Fryeburg, Maine
Maine's largest agricultural fair. Beautiful setting in prime foliage season. Exhibit halls, museum, harness racing and livestock shows.

If you're planning on visiting a fair, plan to spend the whole day.  Bring a shopping bag or boat-and-tote for purchases, brochures, and samples.  Remember to bring a water bottle and any needed medications, and even in late September, don't forget the sunscreen and sunhat. 

And if you win a ribbon, please drop us a line and let us know!

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