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Short hops

Maine fair aging but not idling

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August 10, 2008

SKOWHEGAN, Maine - For some low-tech family fun, you can't beat the 190th annual Skowhegan State Fair running through Aug. 16.

It's the world's oldest consecutively running fair. Founded in 1818 to encourage improved breeding of livestock, the 10-day event has never been canceled, even in the World Wars. Circus Hollywood performs under a huge tent twice or three times daily, the fair's first circus since 1999, and on Aug. 12-14, the Imperial Stunt Drivers will thrill the crowd at 8 p.m., all free with admission.

Perennial highlights include daily pig racing, harness racing, horse pulling, livestock shows, 4-H exhibits, and three demolition derbies with local drivers. Eat your fill of sausages, cotton candy, and ice cream, but save room for two local favorites: Stan's Fries, under the grandstand, and the firemen's awesome cheeseburgers.

"We have wonderful volunteers . . . who do a remarkable amount of work to make this happen," says office manager Becki Turner. "It's amazing - they come back year after year."

190th annual Skowhegan State Fair, through Aug. 16, fairgrounds open at 7 a.m., exhibit halls at 11, midway at noon; all close at 11 p.m. or midnight, depending on crowds. Route 201 north (Madison Avenue), 207-474-2947, skowhe ganstatefair.com. Weekdays $6 per person, weekends $8; parking $4 per day.

JANET MENDELSOHN

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