Agricultural fairs are a part of a long history of rural life in Maine. Some might not see beauty pageants as fitting into that tradition, but for many small Maine fairs, the annual pageant is as traditional as the animal pull events.

The Maine Strawberry Queen Pageant first started in 1952 during the first year of the Pittston Fair. Sixty-five years later, girls as young as 5 are still making the walk through the fairgrounds and down the stage in their best dresses.

Liz Chaisson, director of the Strawberry Queen Pageant, grew up in Pittston. For her, the pageant itself is not the most important part of the yearly tradition; it’s the community involvement that drives her. “It is all about having pride in your community and wanting to be involved in it,” she said.

The Maine Dairy Princess Scholarship Pageant is in its 11th year at the Clinton Lions Agricultural Fair, 38 miles north of Pittston. Each contestant is sponsored by a Maine dairy farm and speaks to the audience about the ins and outs of dairy production. Some of the contestants this year were sponsored by their own family farm and many of them expressed hopes of carrying on their families’ way of life.

The queens and princesses from many of Maine’s agricultural fairs travel to other fairs as a part of their reign. The Maine Strawberry Queen, Princess and Little Blossom were in the audience at the Clinton Lions Fair cheering their fellow fair royalty on.

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