HARMONY — Nine-year-old Evy Balfour was jumping up and down, her pink tutu flying in the air as her frog, Libby Love, crossed a line drawn in yellow tape on the grass in front of them.

“I did it! I did it!” Balfour yelled.

The Harmony Free Fair on Sunday was her first time competing in a frog jumping contest, but luckily the frog had lots of practice beforehand — enough to earn them a second place ribbon in Balfour’s age group.

“I trained him,” said Balfour, launching into a tutorial on various frog training techniques, including blowing on the frog to get it to move, using your legs to create a wall and guide it in one direction and patting the ground around it.

Moments before the big contest, she also gave Libby Love a massage and pep talk.

“I said, ‘You better win this,'” she said. “‘You must remember the training because I remembered mine and I hope you remember yours.'”

The contest, which drew more than a dozen participants, including some adults, was part of the 71st Harmony Free Fair, which runs through Monday. Admission and parking are both free, though participants in the frog jumping contest were required to bring their own frogs.

“We’re one of the poorest counties in the state,” said Mel Chadbourne, whose husband, Jeff, is president of the fair. “A lot of people say this is the only fair they go to because it’s the only one they can afford. So in keeping with that we try to have a lot of free activities like the frog jumping and other things for kids.”

About 10,000 people are expected to attend over the fair’s three and a half day run.

“It’s probably up from last year,” said Jeff Chadbourne, who is also president of the Patriarchs Club, a local volunteer group that sponsors the fair. “We’ve had great weather and the word is getting out about us, I think.”

Other free or low-cost events Sunday were a magic show, pig scramble, fireworks and live music.

Monday’s schedule includes a Labor Day Parade starting at 9:30 a.m., horse and tractor shows and a bike giveaway for children. Both children and adults win also have the chance to will up to $150 in a talent show at 5 p.m. Monday.

Jeff Chadbourne said many fairgoers are excited about a new food pavilion this year made possible through community donations and offering needed relief from the sun.

“People are really enjoying being able to sit in the shade and eat,” he said.

At the frog jumping contest, Bella-Anne Givani, 9, of Rumford, Rhode Island, wore a huge smile as she walked away victorious in her age group. Givani said it was her second time participating in the contest after coming in second last year.

Her secret to success?

Tapping the ground on either side of the frog and blowing on it.

“And never give up,” she said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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