MONMOUTH — From her perch in her Country Bumpkins food truck near the show ring, Linda Leigh can see almost everything at the Monmouth Fair through the serving windows on either side of the truck.

And what she could see Saturday was all wet.

Following three hot and humid days, rain on the final day of the 108-year-old fair kept the temperature down, but it kept attendance down as well.

As a result, those lining up for food at any of the food trucks or at the fair’s own food concession had only a short wait and their pick of seats on the fairgrounds.

During a post-lunchtime lull, Leigh said she picked her spot 15 years ago and has returned to it every year since.

On one side, she could see the rides whirling on the midway and Conjuring Carroll performing his magic show on stage for his young audience members who joined him on stage under the shelter of its roof.

On the other side, she could see the preparations underway for the Mini Horse Pull, and see the fairgoers filling up the covered stands on the far side of the ring.

The ring is where much of the action takes place, from the pulling contests for oxen, steer, horses and tractors to 4-H demonstrations.

“You can tell there are good kids here,” she said. “Every kid that comes to my window has manners. They are very respectful,” she said.

Every summer, the Cochnewagon Agricultural Association puts on the fair, which takes place in mid-summer on the fairgrounds, just across from Monmouth Academy.

The fair also features community-based events.

Just up the hill from Leigh’s vantage point, a half-dozen members of the Monmouth Lions Club were ready to start the day’s beano in Cochnegwagon Hall. On weekday evenings during the fair and on Saturday afternoon, the Lions host the beano event as a fundraiser for their projects in Monmouth, which include providing glasses and hearing aids, supporting Meals on Wheels and scholarships for Monmouth Academy’s graduating seniors.

While Saturday afternoons are not generally the busiest time, they still manage to draw players, they said.

“We’ve had people every night, but it’s not been full,” Robert Cyr said.

Cody Clark, of Limington, guides the team of Rookie and Mike as they compete in miniature-horse pulling Saturday in the Charles Henry Robinson Memorial Pulling Ring at the Monmouth Fairgrounds. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Inside the booth at the show ring, Mark Dennett sat with Bill Tims as competitors filed in to enter in the miniature-horse pulling contest slated in the next hour.

In all, six teams were registered — five teams in the 34-inch class and one in the 38-inch class. Miniature horses are categorized by their withers or shoulder height. The contest is based on how much weight on a metal sled each team can pull 10 feet. Each team has three tries in five minutes at each weight level, starting at 800 pounds.

The Monmouth Fair, Dennett said, is the only Maine fair that offers the event, and that’s brought teams in from around New England.

“We’ve got someone coming from Glover, Vermont, to compete,” Dennett said.

Tracy MacKillop, from Lancaster, New Hampshire, didn’t have to travel quite that far to Monmouth to compete with her three teams.

As she readied them for the competition, MacKillop said the rain wouldn’t affect the competition itself, because the ring is covered.

But timing is everything.

“If it rains the week before,” she said, “it means the teams can’t get out and train.”

Leigh and her husband have used two food trucks to sell their french fries and onion rings at about 30 fairs a year, but she’s ready to cut down to one truck and fewer fairs.

“I’ll keep Pittston,” she said. “And I’ll keep North New Portland and Cumberland. I’ll keep Union; that’s only a couple of miles from me. And I’ll keep Monmouth.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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