Riley Bartell, Contributing Writer
The Farmington Fair always draws a large crowd of college students and Farmington locals. The town of Farmington seems to come alive when the fair is in town. The 179th Annual Farmington Fair is no exception. It opened on Sunday, Sept. 15 and runs through Saturday, Sept. 21.
The fair offers a variety of shows and exhibitions, including Drag Your Neighbor and a demolition derby. A walk down the midway is filled with rides for a range of ages, games made to test your skills in hopes of winning a prize, and many types of food, including sausages, fried dough, and cotton candy.
“I love the horse races and fried food,” said Gavin Arsenault, a senior at UMF. “One of my close friends also competes in Drag Your Neighbor. He didn’t win but it was still fun to watch. The fair always draws me in.”
Drag Your Neighbor is a popular event for the local people. Cars of all kinds gather on the dirt track to race each other. This event was temporarily postponed due to a local emergency, but still gathered a sizable crowd.
WWE Wrestling enthusiasts were treated to a show put on by the North Atlantic Wrestling Association. A temporary ring was set up in one of the pulling rings and a crowd gathered to cheer and heckle the wrestlers. Former WWE wrestler Tony Atlas attended the event and signed autographs for all of his fans.
Other events include harness racing for those who would like to try their luck, exhibition halls filled with home grown produce and homemade crafts and the barns that are filled with a variety of livestock, including cows, pigs, goats, horses, sheep, and poultry for the public to view.
Not all visitors come to the fair for the food and entertainment. Merrily Stevenson and Donna Holbrook come for the cows, animal life and to interact with the public. It provides them with a venue for getting their cows seen by more people, “I have kids here in 4-H, and they show them,” said Stevenson. For cow owners like Stevenson and Holbrook, the fair can be a good place to do business and connect with other farmers. “It’s a great advertising tool,” said Holbrook. “People will come by and see if you have any calves for sale. They’re looking for certain kinds, whether it’s dairy or beef. We sometimes just swap cows, we buy each other’s. We all work together.”
The Farmington Fair was closed on Monday following an explosion in the area which killed one firefighter and wounded several other people. On Wednesday night, vendors and visitors donated several hundred dollars in support of the Farmington firefighters and their families.
The Farmington Fair has special meaning for Ryan Pratt, a senior at UMF. The demolition derby, wrestling and rides all bring back childhood memories. Pratt, a wrestling fan, said, “The wrestling night is funny entertainment and a good promotion for New England wrestling. When I was younger, I always looked forward to going on the rides,” said Pratt. “My grandparents lived right next to the fair so I had easy access. The fair has a great family atmosphere.”