Don’t miss the one-of-a-kind entertainment that you only see at an agricultural fair—the scrambles where kids try to catch a pig or calf to raise themselves. There’s even a money scramble for those without the facilities to have an animal. There are vendors selling everything from custom bird houses to cribbage boards to clever and corny bumper stickers. And don’t forget the contests! The giant pumpkin and squash weigh-off, pig races(can they all go in the same direction?), single draft horse log twitch and the Maine old-fashioned 2-crust apple pie contest are not to be missed.
Of course, the big stars are the farm animals and the Cumberland Fair’s got them all - rabbits, poultry, goats, pigs, sheep, cows and horses of all sizes from miniatures to giant Belgians and Percherons. In addition to the professional and hobby farmers, a lot of 4-H youth participate in the shows, grooming and pulling contests with their animals. 4-H-ers also have their own exhibition area for the many projects they engage in such as robotics, textiles, photography, sports and community action. It’s always fascinating to talk with the kids involved and hear about their experiences and what they’re learning.
If you weren't in Maine in March and didn’t have a chance to participate in Maine Maple Sunday, October 2, will be your lucky day. It’s the Cumberland Fair Maine Maple Day. Start your day at the Sugar House with maple syrup and pancake samples. Then take part in the syrup tasting, followed by maple cream, maple candy and maple-coated nuts demonstrations. Finish the day with a maple syrup on snow demo and see how maple sap is tapped, gathered and filtered. Don’t forget to pick up some maple treats for the trip home - especially the hard candies that aren’t found everywhere!
And what fair is complete without fair food? Candy apples, fried dough, blooming onions, cotton candy! Lots of once-a-year indulgences as well as more healthy offerings. After a day at the fair, you’ll certainly be inspired to stock up on some of the fall harvest and make an apple pie or two of your own.
For a detailed fair schedule, driving directions, times and admission fees, go to www.cumberlandfair.com