Originally published in The Weekly Packet, September 6, 2017
From animals to food: Blue Hill Fair entertains over Labor Day weekend
Driver James Wootten of Blue Hill, at bottom, finds himself in a precarious position as a contestant in the Demolition Derby at this year’s Blue Hill Fair. Later another car helped to dislodge the two.
by Faith DeAmbrose
If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. At least, that is what they say in New England. And, for the five-day Blue Hill Fair, the weather on Sunday was anything but cooperative. What started out almost sunny, ended in a deluge and a fireworks show that “all the vendors really enjoyed,” said Fair Superintendent Rob Eaton on September 5, noting that most fairgoers had left by the 8 p.m. shoot off.
While Sunday’s rain threw a wrench into the plans, everyone adapted, said Eaton. On the midway, rides ended around 6:30 p.m., the show at the Grandstand was re-booked for Monday afternoon and a goat show in the 4-H exhibit circled truck headlights around the perimeter to light the arena and finish the show.
Other than the weather hiccup, the fair went off without a hitch, said Eaton, and all the lost revenue from Sunday seemed to have been made up on Monday, although final figures were not ready at press time.
On Thursday, also known as Dollar Day, attendees filed in at the 4 p.m. opening for $1 admission and $1 rides. Friday brought the annual beef cook off, but with no entries received, no prizes were awarded. One entry in the 4-H cake contest won by default.
Wild Blueberry Day was Saturday, and highlights included the George Stevens Academy Band and harness racing, as well as a blueberry muffin contest and blueberry pie-eating contest. Comedian Bob Marley took to the stage to an overflowing Grandstand, serving up laugh after laugh.
Monday brought the rescheduled Johnny Cash Tribute band and the well attended Demolition Derby. A half hour before the derby started, it was announced that the Grandstand was at maximum capacity. As would-be spectators scrambled to secure a viewing spot, the crowd swelled in size. At the end, Adam Gardner of Bangor was the clear winner, followed by Jay DiTullo from Stockton Springs and Larry Laney from Sebec.
Those who attend each year may have noticed that the midway was organized a bit differently, and that there were a number of new additions aimed at making guests more comfortable. Throughout the winter, members of the fair’s board of directors assembled close to a dozen benches that were spread throughout the grounds, and new additions from the amusements vendor, such as a cell phone charging station, rental lockers, and areas specifically for mothers were new this year. Eaton said that Smokey’s Greater Shows hired a new manager and that the changes have improved the fair overall. As for the benches, Eaton said Smokey’s manager liked them so much, he asked to borrow them for the rest of the fair season.
As the dust settles, and the mechanical rides are disassembled and moved to the next stop on the fair circuit, the process of cleanup begins. “We want to be good neighbors,” said Eaton, “so we try to clean up as quickly as possible.” As fair directors take up the no-parking signs and make sure all the rented equipment is ready to go, they will next be visited by members of the athletic teams at George Stevens Academy. According to Eaton, they are responsible each year for helping to clean the grounds. “They will be here soon,” he says.