MONMOUTH — Paul Fox says this year’s Monmouth Fair will be bigger and better than those of previous years. After working for the fair each of the past 49 years, he should know.

“Come to have a good time,” Fox said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff here.”

Fox, supervisor of grounds for the fair, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday, said the fair’s 105th season includes a new midway provider, new vendors and exhibits and new events.

“We try to mix it up,” Fox said. “We try to improve every year.”

Amyland Amusements, based in Rutland, Vermont, will run the midway this year for the first time. Fox scouted the company earlier this month when it provided the midway for the Ossipee Valley Fair in Hiram, Maine. “They’re nice to talk to and do business with,” Fox said. “We’ve got more rides than what we’ve had for a long time.”

Amyland crews were hard at work Tuesday setting up rides. Even more were set to arrive before Thursday.

“They’ve been right at it,” Fox said. “The guys working have been right out straight.”

The fair also will feature new events, including a miniature horse show at 10 a.m. Saturday. The show’s competition is open to Maine residents only and includes a youth and adult class. The horses, both registered and unregistered, must not exceed 38 inches.

The fair also will have, for the first time, a dedicated night of comedy on Friday. The Dennis Price Comedy Hour takes the stage at 4:30 p.m., followed by Maine comedian “Krazy Jake” Hodgdon. Fair officials warn the show is “PG-13,” meaning it is unsuitable for younger viewers.

Sharon Hood & Dixon Road, who opened for country music artists Dustin Lynch, Randy Houser and Luke Bryan at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Fox said there also will be new vendors and new things to see in the exhibition hall.

“I have more independent vendors than I’ve had before,” Fox said.

In addition to the new events, some old ones are making a return, most notably beano. The Monmouth Lions Club is hosting games at 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday and noon Saturday and Sunday.

“That’s a big draw we lost,” said Fox’s son, Kevin Fox, who also volunteers at the fair.

Food will continue to be a big attraction. Bean-hole beans, always a popular draw, will be served at 4 p.m. Saturday. There will be no shortage of standard fair fare, from fried clams to fried dough.

Plenty of contests are available to feed the habit of those with a competitive streak. The popular blueberry muffin contest, involving only muffins made with wild blueberries, is making a return this year. Other contests are set for the show ring. The He Man/She Woman contest is set for 6 p.m., and the frying pan toss is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday. There will be drawings for bicycles every day for girls and boys ages 7 to 12. All of the contests have been popular draws in the past, fair volunteer Ivy Cunliffe said.

“We’re excited and hopeful,” she said.

Admission to the fair costs $5 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children 12 and under get in free. Seniors get in free on Thursday.

The midway opens at 4 p.m. Thursday and 1 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Ride specials are set for 4-10 p.m. Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Bracelets for the specials, which allow an unlimited number of rides, will be sold for $20 on Thursday and Friday and $18 on Sunday. Each bracelet entitles the holder to a free hot dog, drink and chips at the fair food booth.

Several fair members have spent this week preparing the fairgrounds on Academy Road for its biggest event of the season. Paul Fox promised the grounds will be in top shape before the gates open Thursday morning.

“They’ve mowed the lawn several times and tried to get things cleaned up,” Fox said. “We look for a good fair.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4


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