PITTSTON — For Amanda Plummer and her two sons, Dakota and Dylan Farrington, attending fairs across the state are “their life.”

Plummer, and Dakota and Dylan, 15 and 13 respectively, traveled from Jay for the boys to compete in the Agricultural Day events at the Pittston Fair on Thursday. They, like other vendors and visitors to the fair, had to put a portion of their life on hold due to the events of the past year.

The collective thought among attendees Thursday was that it was a “joy” to be back in the community, all doing something they love and enjoy.

Last year was difficult for Dakota and Dylan after their grandfather, grandmother and uncle all died. Plummer said they were all close and lived on the same street. But, the boys never stopped training to compete in steer pulling and now, more than ever, they had a reason to keep going.

“It was really hard for my boys,” she said. “But they kept going, and they kept tending to the farm. They didn’t give up.”

Plummer said the boys take care of the cattle on their own. They run E & M Farm.

She joked her sons “do not participate in sports” and would rather “be at the fair than at school.” The Pittston Fair is their first of the fair season, but they plan to visit “all of them” for the rest of the season. They also have plans to travel to the Ossippee Valley Fair in New Hampshire.

“It’s so awesome to be back; we love it here,” Plummer said. “Like I said, it’s our life, and we are so happy …”

Volunteer Jim Lilly hangs a basket of flowers in the pulling ring Thursday at the Pittston Fair. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

On the fair’s opening day Thursday, things seemed to pick up where they left off last year.

The Pittston Fire Department made their “famous” french Fries and the museums around the fairgrounds opened, ready for visitors. Adam Winchenbach, a member of the department and the fry cook said to “just wait until the weekend,” implying the busyness of the fair is yet to come.

At the Exhibition Hall, fair volunteer Dick Harman was back in his chair at the entryway, doing what he has “always liked.”

He said he has received a few new donations this year and wishes people would come and spend time looking at the antique objects that have been displayed by the fair since 2011.

“People usually spend three or so minutes here,” Harman said. “But there is a lot of stuff to see. A lot of people can’t make out what most of this stuff is, and a lot of things people have never seen before.”

Among the items in the museum were antique phones, old bottles and soda cans, perfume bottles, and a butter churner, to name a few. One iron from the 1960s, covered in rust, still works if it’s plugged in, Harman said. The walls were decorated with maps of Pittston from when the town was established.

Harman spends most of his year living in Florida, but in the summer he comes back to a house in Randolph. He and his wife have come to the fair every year since 2011. He’s “always liked” being a part of the Exhibition Hall.

Sandra Johnson and Ryan Bourque take orders and money as customers stack up for food Thursday at the Pittston Fair’s kitchen. Crowds returning to the Fair after two years mobbed the concession operated by volunteers for its highly regarded home-cooked meals. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

The fair had vendors, too, with people coming far and wide to sell their products.

Grace Weymouth and her mother, Beth Weymouth, traveled from Canaan to sell items they crocheted. Selling her work was a goal Grace had for a while. She talked about doing so, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The Pittston Fair is the first time she has been able to sell her items in person and not through her Etsy page, where she has soda coolers, hats and scarves listed. They were both “happy” to be at the fair and to pass the time they both crocheted some more items.

In Community Hall, Kathy Chadburn set up her Tupperware items to sell.

She sold her items a couple of weeks ago at the Monmouth Fair but has never been to the Pittston Fair. One of her favorite parts of selling at fairs is having conversations people she might not have had the chance of meeting before they came by her table.

“It’s good to be back selling,” Chadburn said. “I get to meet so many nice people.”

A miniature donkey welcomes a visitor to the petting pens Thursday at the Pittston Fair. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Sunday will be the final day to attend the Pittston Fair.

Each day has different activities, including steer pulls, truck pulls and cooking competitions. One of the most famous competitions, the Strawberry Pageant, will take place Sunday. Sunday will also have a baby competition among shows for the whole family to watch. There are Bike and Driver’s Education giveaways on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and fireworks will be at 9:15 p.m. Friday.

Kim Alley-Pelletier, secretary of the Pittston Fair Association, said the fair will operate rain or shine.

Events start at various times throughout the day, but gates open at 8 a.m. each day for people who are not participating in the animal events, like the Steer & Oxen Pull and Horse Pull. A full list of events is on the Pittston Fair website.

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