LITCHFIELD — Wilton “Sonny” Black can’t remember how many times he’s entered oxen teams at the annual Litchfield Fair. He’s 82 now, and he first did so 77 years ago, at the ripe age of 5.

For the last two years, Black has been sidelined from the Litchfield Fair’s festivities by a hip surgery.

But this summer, Black is back.

In April, he bought two black oxen that he’ll enter at the fair, which begins Friday. He’s yoked them up only four times, Black said, but he’s not hoping to win any prizes or glory. He already has plenty of blue ribbons stored in a box. This year he just wants to participate.

“You’re supposed to wash and trim them, but we’re not doing that this year,” he said of the oxen, who are 3 years old and whose dealers named them Mike and Sully, after characters in the animated film “Monsters, Inc.”

Serious exhibitors will trim the hair from the animals’ heads and backs and train them every day, Black explained nonchalantly, “but this is just going to be a half-assed job this time, a spur of the moment thing.”

“Well, you’ve got a half-assed team,” added Mike Freeman, who works on Black’s Litchfield farm and was helping him warm the animals up a day before the fair started.

The fair runs from Friday to Sunday at the fairgrounds on Plains Road and will include livestock exhibits and competitions, activities for children, butter-making demonstrations, a truck pull and — new this year — a woodsmen competition.

Each day, the festivities will begin at 7 a.m. On Friday and Saturday, they’ll run until 9 p.m. On Sunday, they’ll end at 6 p.m.

Besides the woodsmen competition — which will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday and include an ax throw and chain saw competitions — fair organizer Charlie Smith said a popular activity will be Wheelers Wee Farm, an activity taking place Friday morning, Saturday afternoon and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

At the wee farm, children have an opportunity to simulate growing crops, raising animals and selling their produce. This year, the activity also will include simulations of seafood fishing and harvesting.

“We’ve done a little more to enhance that this year,” said Smith, who is president of the Litchfield Farmers’ Club, which organizes the fair. “It gives the idea of how the whole (farming) process works.”

The fair used to host an activity called Old MacDonald’s Barn, where children could pet every manner of farm animal, including ducks, pheasants, rabbits and ponies.

Black was one of the farmers who ran that area, Smith noted.

“Sonny was a big asset in Old MacDonald’s Barn,” he said. “He was a big asset to that event for many years.”

Black said he once even raised a deer that he put in the show, but that the animal proved too combative for him to continue doing so.

Smith, the fair organizer, said the weather plays a large role in the success of a fair and that the forecast is looking “pretty good” for this weekend. Though some activities are geared toward children, he said the Red Neck Truck Pull at 7 p.m. Friday and the demolition derby at 10 a.m. should appeal to adults.

Entry to the fair is free for those under 12, $3 for those 12 to 17, $7 for adults, $3 for those over 65 and free for seniors on Friday.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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