Skowhegan State Fair Kicks Off With Dollar Admission Day

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (WABI) The 199th Skowhegan State Fair kicked off Thursday.

Tom Dillon, President of the Skowhegan State Fair says, "It's the longest continuous running fair in the United States and it's been running now for 199 years."

The state fair looks a bit different than it did when it first started back in 1818.

The fair used to be only about agriculture.

Stephen Frederick, the Livestock Superintendent of the fair says, "When this first started it used to be local people and sometimes they would travel a couple of days to get here to participate in a horse pool or to show their cattle."

And while there are many other things to catch your eye the Skowhegan State Fair stays true to its focus.

Frederick says, "We try to keep the biggest emphasis on life stock because just to keep traditions going and keep people aware of how things used to be. Some people don't see cows or horses anymore."

But the State Fair has something for everyone.

From exhibitions teaching you how to make maple syrup to showing old farm equipment.

They also host events every night and they're bringing back an old tradition this year.

Chris Rush, 'The Rushman' from Mix 107.9 says, "The battle of the bands has always been a staple of the Skowhegan state fair for years and for years. It kind of went away for a little while. 2011 was the last time we did it and I was the host of that and we are back again this year in 2017. What better place to be on Sunday night."

There are a few new rides this year too and safety is a top priority.

Robby Dirskill, ride manager says, "Both carnival companies that are here do a safety ride inspection. The employees go out there with a safety checklist check all the rides and make sure there's no problems ahead of time. The rides long before we get here or state inspected by the state of Maine."

And those who have been involved for a while say they couldn't imagine doing anything else.

Mel Blaisdell, Vice President of the Skowhegan State Fair says, "It's quite a lot of fun. I like to see all the kids having a good time. They love the rides and I guess that's why we do it really is for the kids mostly."