Several new events are expected to draw crowds to the 200th Skowhegan State Fair this year.

Over the 10 days of the fair from Aug. 9 to 18, the Fearless Flores Family Thrill Show will perform each afternoon, with three shows on both Saturdays and on Sunday.

On weekdays, the performers will offer two afternoon shows. Show times are listed on both the printed and online program. Included in their performances, feature attractions will be the Wheel of Destiny and the Globe of Death, according to Ricardo Flores. His nephews, Giovanni and Victor Flores, race their motorcycles up, down and around a specially-built metal globe made of steel. He said their ancestors have been performers for generations.

His grandfather passed his trick riding skills to his children, Frances and Ricardo, who now perform with their own children.

The Spinning Wheel of Destiny performance features Frances, who balances 30 feet above the ground, performing inside and outside a wheel that spins while it also rotates in giant full circles. Frances will be blindfolded during part of the performance, Ricardo said, and audiences always are mesmerized by her balance and skill.

“The Globe of Death is a 14-foot diameter steel cage, and the Flores riders race motorcycles at top speeds, missing each other only by inches” Ricardo said. “It’s not something audiences should try at home.”

The family has performed on ESPN and at amusement parks, state fairs and other venues nationwide and internationally, according to Ricardo Flores, a second-generation owner.
“We bring state-of-the-art lighting, sound and pyrotechnics for great family entertainment ,” he said. The family competed in America’s Got Talent with the stunt, earning them rave reviews from the judges. Each performance includes an opportunity to meet the team and get autographs and take photos.

Meanwhile, this year’s fair offers plenty of chances for people to come home with prizes. Children ages 10 years and under can attend for free. There are two Senior Citizen days, with half price admission for those 62 and older on Tuesday and Thursday, Aug. 13 and 16..

Walter Hight said he and his family have collected and restored dozens of antique cars over the years and will bring them to the fairgrounds this year for a magnificent display of automobile history. Restoration is a painstaking labor of love, but he and his Hight dealership family members enjoy the hobby. They’ll have 12 Mustangs in the show, including a 1965 model, some Mustangs and some antique convertibles.

The Hights’ collection spans the decades of the 20th century, and the display will be a chance for both car and history buffs to see the changes and improvements throughout the past century. Family members will drive all 70 cars a few at a time to a big tent on the fairgrounds. During the week, someone will be available to answer questions for viewers.
One popular annual event, the daily bike giveaway, has been a tradition for the past decade, according to Tom Dillon of T. R. Dillon Logging. Local businesses sponsor each of the days’ giveaways of five girls’ and five boys’ bikes. The youngsters have to be present at the fairgrounds to win and take their bikes home with them. The tickets are available at the entrance gate. This year’s newest sponsors are Heavy Equipment and the Skowhegan Rotary Club.

The fair committee and area businesses also sponsor the nightly cash sweepstakes drawings at 8 p.m. at Midway Park, starting on Aug. 9. Organizer Chad Partridge said there will be a final drawing at the grandstand for a $5,000 cash prize at 8 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 18.

“People can enter once a day, and the winners don’t have to be at the fair to win,” he said. “We’ll put all the tickets together for the drawing for the grand prize.”
Drop boxes for entries are at Constitution Hall and the Maple Sugar House.

Steve Spaulding, Commander of Skowhegan American Legion Post No.16, said he and dozens of volunteers help organize and run the annual Bingo games at the fairgrounds. They open the doors at 2 p.m. on all 10 days and keep the games going well into the evening. This year, the winners of the daily 7 p.m. Blackout Bingo game will take home a 32-inch, flat-screen television. If there’s a tie in any game, Spaulding said the two winners must draw from a pack of cards, and the highest card wins.

“We all volunteer to do this every year because we put our share into supporting the community, including our veterans, our seniors and our young people,” Spaulding said. “We contribute to veterans’ families during hard times, and we support the kids’ sports programs and all sorts of things like that.”

At one time, the Skowhegan State Fair organizers thought interest in Bingo games was declining and decided to discontinue them. Spaulding said they had so many inquiries from fair-goers who missed the get-togethers, the committee asked the American Legion members if they would bring their equipment and volunteers to keep the games going. Days are long, but members say it’s worth all the work.

“We can play as many as 100 games a day, but a lot depends on whatever else is going on at the fair,” Spaulding said. “If everyone clears out early, we send our volunteers home.”
The fair has provided them with an air-conditioned building, he said, so on these hot summer afternoons and evenings, everyone can stay comfortable. The atmosphere is very sociable, but games move quickly. They play with the traditional Bingo cards and wooden pieces instead of the stamps. Many of the older players bring the children and grandchildren to make it a family night of fun. The games are open to ages 16 and up.

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