WATERFORD — It’s easy to miss the Expo I at the World’s Fair in Waterford, but don’t.
One of the fair’s oldest buildings located at the bottom of the hill that hundreds walk by every day to reach the main fairgrounds, is filled with exhibits. They have been created by members of the local Waterford Grange, nursing homes, knitting clubs, Harrison Recreation Club and individuals. Many have painstakingly worked on the items on exhibit for judging and premiums and just for the pleasure of crafting.
The exhibition hall, which last year won the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs Best Exhibition Hall for small fairs, will also be home base this week for apple, strawberry and chocolate chip contests and even a whoopie pie eating contest, said Expo I Superintendent Elaine Emery.
The small, family orientated agricultural fair in North Waterford opens Friday, July 14, and runs through Sunday the 16th, featuring local vendors, entertainment and livestock, Old MacDonald’s Barn filled with animals, an outside entertainment stage with local talent, demonstrations and livestock exhibits and much more including a presentation this year by wilderness survivor Ryan Holt.
Gates to the fairground at 36 (Irving) Green Road, across from Melby’s Market and Eatery in North Waterford, opens Friday, July 14 at 9 a.m.
The World’s Fair is considered one of the oldest agricultural fairs in the state and has attracted thousands of people each year. It’s advertised as “a wonderful place to sample the simple, traditional essence of agricultural Maine.”
Begun in 1850 as Tom Green Fair, because it was held on Tom Green’s land next to Route 35 in North Waterford, the fair featured oxen pulls on the public street in front of Tut’s General Store (now Melby’s Market and Eatery on Route 35).
Records indicate that it became known as the World’s Fair around 1928, when an agricultural society was formed and the fair was moved to the current North Waterford fairgrounds. The land was purchased around 1990.
Today it continues as an agricultural showcase for small-town tradition and showcasing time-honored events such as an antique tractor pull, draft horse show, strawberry and apple pie contest, cow chip bingo, pig scramble, a 4-H working steer contest and more.
Music will, as usual, be a lively part of the three-day event. In addition to the popular second annual Fiddlers Day, on Sunday, there will be a lineup of music throughout the three days.
“It’s quite a day of fiddling,” said Darcey Winslow of the second annual Fiddlers Day that will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Among the new musical acts at the fair this year will be Dusty Rocks, Britta and Jake, Swampdog, the Singepole Mountain Band, Seagrass and others, said Terry Swett, who will perform with his own award-winning band Milltown Road Show.
“We have three days of fantastic entertainment,”Swett said.
Friday, July 14 is Agriculture & Conservation Family Day at the fair. From 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., there will be an array of exhibits that are fun and educational for the whole family.
Children 10 and younger can visit the “Little Hands for Forestry” area where they can learn how to plant a tree, care for the tree as it grows, “harvest” the tree, load it into the peddle tractor and wagon, and take it to the paper mill where they can unload their lumber and receive play money. It may be redeemed at the WoodShop Store for items made from trees, according to information from organizer Jeanne Federico.
Fair organizers have been especially busy this year preparing for the fair and also negotiating a land purchase that will result in additional parking space for the livestock presenters next year.
“It’s really awesome,” said Winslow.
Winslow said the 2- to 3-acre parcel has electricity, a well and access off Route 35, which will allow the livestock handlers to avoid the pedestrians accessing the fairgrounds.
More information on the fair and its events is available online at http://waterfordworldsfair.org/