For years, the Monmouth Fair has taken the second half of the weekend off, but that all changes this year.

The fair, which begins Thursday, will for the first time in recent memory run through Sunday.

“That is one of our biggest changes,” said Shirley Pogorelc, a fair director.

Fair directors decided to change the timing of the fair, which has typically run from Wednesday through Saturday, to take advantage of the additional weekend day. Pogorelc said the Monmouth Academy reunion is always on Saturday the same weekend of the fair, meaning those who return to town for the reunion haven’t been able to attend the fair.

“We’re hoping to pick up some of those people,” Pogorelc said.

The Sunday offerings will be specifically geared to families. There will be two different children’s shows, including Dan Grady’s Marvelous Marionette Medley and Conjuring Carroll, that also appeal to adults, Pogorelc said.

“We’re really trying to push Sunday as a family day,” she said.

Pogorelc said Monmouth has typically ended the fair on Saturday because of a scheduling conflict with the Topsham Fair. For years Monmouth and Topsham used the same midway provider. The Topsham fair typically opened on Sunday, meaning amusement crews had to pack up in Monmouth on Saturday to be ready in time to open in Topsham the next day.

The last few years the two fairs have used a different midway provider and Topsham opens later. This year the Topsham Fair opens Tuesday.

“We decided why not take advantage of more working people being able to come as a family,” Pogorelc said.

Special events are scheduled every day of the fair, including opening day, Thursday, when a sheep dog demonstration is set for 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. The band Emerald Sky takes the stage at 6:30 p.m.

The Dennis Price Comedy Tour will perform at 4:30 p.m. Friday followed by the band Cold Blue Steel at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s special shows include Mad Science of Maine, at noon and 2:30 p.m., and the group Sharon Buck and Dixon Road at 7:30 p.m.

There also will be number of repeat events, like the bike drawing scheduled for every day. Pig scrambles are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 4:30 Sunday. Most of the winning children decide to keep the pigs, Pogorelc said.

“If they can’t keep the pigs we pay the child for the pigs,” she said.

Children who help turn the handle during the ice cream making demonstrations Friday, Saturday and Sunday also will be rewarded for their effort.

“The kids who crank get to eat,” Pogorelc said. “They have to work for it.”

The entertainment also will feature work by chainsaw carver Josh Turner of Woolwich.

“I do chainsaw art,” Turner said. “I’m more of an artist than a carver.”

Turner will perform all four days at the fair, both filling custom orders and creating his own designs.

“I’ll be working on pieces throughout the day,” he said.

Turner said Monmouth will be his third fair so far this season. The trick to keeping the crowd entertained is to keep projects on the smaller side, usually a few feet in height.

“If you go too big it takes too long,” Turner said. “You lose the interest of the crowd.”

Turner’s sidekick, Taz, a mixed breed dog with a mohawk to match Turners, has become a crowd favorite.

“He’s almost as much a part of the show as I am,” Turner said. “People love him.”

Turner said he’s always been an artist and has worked in the woods since he was young. He’s put the two together about seven years ago and has been a chainsaw artist since. He said he enjoys showing off his skills during area fairs.

“Make some noise. Make some dust. Make some art,” Turner said. “That’s my plan for the weekend.”

Admission tickets, excluding rides, cost $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 12 to 18 and those 65 and older. Children younger than 12 get in free. Admission also is free on Thursday for those 65 and older.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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