MONMOUTH — For the 108th straight year, residents and visitors on Wednesday will file into the Monmouth Fairgrounds on Academy Road for the annual Monmouth Fair.

Organizers say the event, which relies on a number of local volunteers, will stay true to its agricultural roots but will offer modern fair attractions such as carnival rides and truck pulls.

Phil Butterfield, the president of the Cochnewagon Agricultural Association, the organization that puts on the fair, said he was looking for an above average turnout for the largely agricultural fair, which offers horse and oxen pulls and demonstrations from local 4-H groups.

“We’ve looked at the weather and we think it looks fine,” he said.

The fair has experienced a slight increase in attendance over the past three years, Butterfield said, but organizers added events to attract younger visitors. The Redneck Truck Pull and modified mini-tractors with engines from other, mostly larger vehicles from Pine Street Mini Tractor Pullers have drawn young adults, he said.

“Anything with those radical engines and loud noises draws that sort of crowd,” he said.

Resident Jeff Kemp was hauling materials with a tractor Tuesday afternoon to set up a sawmill to construct equipment used for the horse and oxen pulls later in the week. He has volunteered at the fair since his father, Richard Kemp, ran the fair about 40 years ago, he said. Kemp donates bales of hay to the animal owners who stay for the duration of the fair, to offset the cost of hauling animals to Monmouth. The fair has seen some challenges pulling in animals since he started volunteering, he said, but the numbers of horses and steers have remained consistent with past tallies.

“We give them hay and whatever we can to help defer the cost of them coming here,” he said. “We’re doing all right with what we can do,”

Kemp also said it has been difficult to find a midway — the amusement and ride portion of a fair — with the size and number of attendees at the Monmouth Fair. Butterfield said the midway, with rides and attractions provided by Massachusetts-based Kavanaugh Amusements, will offer special rates on ride passes to keep costs low for families attending the fair.

Kemp is part of a small group of volunteers that regularly helps the Cochnewagon Agricultural Association organize the fair. Students from Monmouth Academy were painting fences while middle school children were landscaping the fairgrounds and setting up trash bins.

Paul Fox, 83, is in his sixth decade of managing concessions for the fair. The fairground will be full of food stalls and area food trucks, he said, including a mobile candy store from Hallowell’s Scrummy Afters and a repurposed bus that serves Filipino food.

Fox said he was thinking about retiring “pretty damn quick,” but he didn’t know exactly when he would stop working at the fair.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “Most of the people I deal with are good-natured.”

Along with rides and games, there will be live music every night. Children under 6 years old will be able to participate in a pig scramble, and children under 45 pounds also will have the opportunity to compete in a pedal tractor pull. The Monmouth Lions Club will oversee beano games every day.

The fair runs from Wednesday to Saturday. Gates for the fair open at noon and close at 10 p.m. Admission for seniors and children ages 6 to 17 is $3; and for adults, $6. Children under 6 get in free,

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME

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