The 64th annual Clinton Lions Agricultural Fair kicks off Thursday with four days of events, shows, rides, competitions and celebrations at the fairgrounds on Route 100.

The fair begins at 3 p.m. Thursday, when the gates open, and will feature events such as the Dana Perkins Puppet Show at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., the Maine Dairy Princess and Junior Princess beauty pageant contest finals at 7 p.m., antique tractor pulls at 6 p.m., and a miniature-horse demonstration at 7 p.m. The exhibition halls close at 10 p.m.

Unlimited ride bracelets cost $15.

Jon Whitten, a Lions Club Fair Committee member and assistant fair secretary, said 16,000 to 17,000 people are expected to visit the fair over the course of the four days. Now in its 64th year, the fair started as a small event in a little field behind the school, Whitten said. In the 1960s the fair moved to its current location, and later the Lions acquired more land on either side of the parcel, he said.

Senior Citizens Day starts at 8 a.m. Friday. Anyone 62 years old and older gets in for discounted prices. Senior gate admission costs $3 or $7 per senior carload, and seniors get $1 off a full-course meal at the Lions Diner, which opens at 11:30 a.m., serving home cooked meals. Friday events include the 19th annual Woodsmen’s Day, which includes chopping, sawing, log rolling, axe throwing and other competitions. Participants for the Woodsmen’s Day must pre-register. The events bring in top woodsmen from New England and Canada.

Other Friday events include horse pulling at 4:30 p.m., stock farm tractor pulling at 7 p.m., and the children’s pig scramble beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Wild Woods Band is scheduled to play for the first time at the festival at 7 p.m. in the show tent, and the evening concludes with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Whitten said the fireworks are a big event, but he also estimated the majority of people come to the festival for the tractor and truck pulling, which happen every day.

Saturday events kick off at 6:30 a.m. with breakfast at the Lions Diner, and the gates to the fairgrounds open at 8 a.m. The annual downtown street parade begins at 10 a.m., which includes the Lawrence High School Marching Band, Kora Shriners, local floats, antique cars, fire engines, football teams, cheerleaders and more. The parade begins and ends at the school.

Saturday’s fair events include a steer show at 11 a.m., a blueberry pie eating contest at noon, truck and tractor pulling at 1 p.m., clown shows at 2:30 p.m. and the Debbie Myers musical act at 7 p.m. The fair wraps up on Sunday and features a nondenominational church service at 10 a.m. arranged by Methodist minister the Rev. Chung Choi and featuring the nationally known “The Greatest Gift” band singing Christian songs, Dan Grady’s Marvelous Marionette Medley at noon and 2 p.m., and a magic show by the Great Stephan at 1 p.m. Concluding the day will be a dance review by Maureen’s Young Americans. The fair closes at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Whitten said tickets cost $5 per person or $15 for a carload, and brackets for unlimited rides cost $15. He said there are over 20 rides, many of which are for children, such as an antique Merry-Go-Round.

“It’s quite something,” he said of the ride.

Throughout the fair, there will be daily bingo and Krazy Ball, two exhibition halls featuring crafts, vegetables, 4-H, Grange and University of Maine Extension exhibits. The Clinton Historical Society will have its History House open, featuring all things of Clinton past, including a 16-foot national mural painted by Clinton artist Viva Chamberlain.

For a full schedule of events, see www.clintonlionsfair.com.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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