FARMINGTON — Diane Bolduc has been coming to the Farmington Fair for 16 years.

Bolduc sat in the middle of the Franklin County Agricultural Society room spinning sheep’s wool as a demonstration on Sunday afternoon.

“I started taking care of my friend’s sheep 25 years ago, and I fell in love with them,” she said. Bolduc now has her own small farm on New Vineyard road with sheep, goats and chickens, and spins yarn with the wool. She can spin a spool in an hour and half, she said, and she can knit a mitten in four hours.

“They call us fiber junkies,” Bolduc said.

Bolduc’s spinning was just one of many demonstrations at the 176th annual Farmington Fair, which opened Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and ends on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Leroy Cronkhite, a beekeeper from Livermore Falls, sat by an observation hive at the tent for the Maine State Beekeepers Association. The hive, which had five more frames for the bees hidden in a box beneath it, held “in the neighborhood” of 7,000 to 10,000 bees, he said. In some of the combs baby bees were hatching.

A large hive, which was also on display, can hold between 60,000 and 70,000 bees.

“The purpose is to educate young kids or anybody who comes along,” Cronkhite said.

This summer was difficult because of the drought, he said, and they even had to feed the bees in the observatory because local flowers weren’t producing enough nectar. It takes two million flowers to make 1 pound of honey, he said.

The fair also features a blacksmith demonstration by the Western Maine Blacksmith Association. The blacksmiths also sell some of their pieces at the fair.

“We get a lot of interest from people,” said Bill Reid, who used to do blacksmithing as a hobby. “People come here and say, ‘I need this made’ because they can’t get it anywhere else.'”

The group has about 25 people in it, he said, and they all use coal to make the pieces.

“Like any art, the more you practice, the more you do it, the better you get,” Reid said.

Exhibitions will be shown throughout the week. The fair also features oxen and steer pulls, agricultural shows, a demolition derby, live music, fair foods and rides.

Madeline St. Amour – 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour


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