You can learn a lot at a fair, or, at least be reminded of what you should already know!
It is fair season in Maine. I counted 29 fairs listed on the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs website. Maine has large fairs (like Fryeburg Fair and Skowhegan State Fair) and small fairs (such as Houlton Fair and Monmouth Fair). Windsor Fair, a large fair, touts itself as a “progressive fair.” Ossipee Valley Fair, small, calls itself an “old-fashioned” fair. Waterford World’s Fair says it is a small family fair. Union Fair says it is a large family fair. I assume they are both talking about the size of the fairs and not the families that attend! Union Fair, by the way, is famous for including the annual State of Maine Wild Blueberry Festival. Maine has at least 25 of those (festivals, that is), as well, including the Lobster, Moxie (a Maine soft drink), and the Internet Cat Video festivals!
Most of the agriculture fairs, large or small, old-fashioned or progressive, small family or large, have some 4‑H involvement – which keeps the 4‑H educators of Maine hopping during the summer. Don’t even try to connect with the 4‑H Educator in Kennebec County during fair season. She has FIVE fairs in her county. That almost seems UNfair! However, it is fair to say Maine enjoys its fairs.
On August 4, I got to go to the Bangor Fair (large). I was a 4‑H Educational Exhibits judge judging exhibits put up around the fair by 4‑H’ers, 4‑H Clubs and, in an “open” class, farms. Exhibit exhibitors can win some pretty good premiums too. First place was $450!
I learned a lot from these exhibits. I learned beef products are used in the process of brewing Guinness Stout, Holsteins came from the Netherlands, and, depending on how you look at it, a cow has either one stomach with four parts or four stomachs – the argument rages!
I also learned, or re-learned, some other things.