Rosie Schacht, a member of the Pittston Historical Society, laughs in conversation with other members who were all seen setting up the Pittston Historical Society’s building for fair attendees to look around Friday in Pittston. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

PITTSTON — For years, fans of the Pittston Fair would mark off three days near the end of July to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the annual agricultural fair in this southern Kennebec County town.

But this year, they’ll have to get out their erasers.

The 2024 annual agricultural fair season in Maine kicks off Thursday in Pittston, giving fairgoers an early start to the year and a return to when the fair was originally held.

“I can’t tell you how many years ago it was, but the reason why they changed the date is because it would rain, so they changed it to July, and it stuck,” said Kim Alley-Pelletier, secretary of the Pittston Fair Board.

The return to the original timing was not due to weather this year but practicality. This year, the Bangor State Fair extended its dates, creating a conflict for the rides and midway attractions in late July. To secure the rides and midway attractions, fair officials opted to move the fair dates to June.

The Pittston Fair is part of the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs, which includes 24 fairs across the state that run through the summer starting with The Springfield Fair on June 13 to the Fryeburg Fair that ends the season on Oct. 6. The association includes nearby fairs such as the Monmouth Fair, Skowhegan State Fair, the Windsor Fair and the Litchfield Fair.


Barry W. Norris, executive director of the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs, said since the COVID-19 pandemic, fair attendance has risen on a yearly basis. Most of the attendees are Mainers, or people staying around the area for the summer, he said.


“I think people are excited to go out and go to different events,” said Norris, regarding the success fairs have had since the pandemic.

In addition to the Pittston Fair, Norris said several other fairs have new dates this year, like the Windsor Fair and the Union Fair. He thinks this is a move for the fairs to be more in line and consistent with each other’s dates.

And, like Pittston, to avoid the issue of not having a vendor available.

Organizers of the Pittston Fair, with fairgrounds located at 995 East Pittston Road, anticipate another successful year even with a new weekend as the fair returns. So far, no rain is in the forecast for the fair’s run, which is from Thursday, June 20, to Sunday, June 23, but temperatures are forecast to soar into the 80s and 90s during the week.


Alley-Pelletier said the warm weather might bring more attendees out at night once it cools down. Regardless, she expects the fair to be well-attended like it was last year, though she did not immediately have attendance estimates.

“It was one of the better years. It was hot, there was good entertainment and a good old county fair is going to bring people out,” she said.

Norris, of the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs, said he believes people like the small feel of a Maine fair.

“Everyone goes one fair to the next and everyone all knows each other,” he said. “The cattle people all know each other and different commodities all work together and look forward to seeing each other.”

The Monmouth Fair also takes place in June. Its dates moved from August to June a couple of years ago, said Monmouth Fair President Phil Butterfield.

Like the Pittston Fair, organizers of the Monmouth Fair expect a similar well-attended event as last year and have entertainment planned that includes the band 12/OC as well as agricultural events and games. The fair will kick off on Wednesday, June 26, and run through Sunday, June 29.


“Since we moved the fair to June a couple of years ago — we have historically been in August for a long, long time, but changed it around five years ago — and since then it’s been much better attendance-wise since the weather is typically more user friendly since August can be hot with thunderstorms, and those are detrimental to outdoor events,” said Butterfield.

Rosie Schacht, a member of the Pittston Historical Society, sets up a section of the Pittston Historical Society’s building Friday at the Pittston Fairgrounds in preparation for the upcoming fair. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

The Pittston Fair offers a pig scramble, cake walk and horse pull, among other agricultural fair events. New this year is a sheep obstacle course for all ages and the person who leads a sheep on a leash through the maze in the shortest amount of time, wins.

The classic Strawberry Pageant is on Sunday, as is the bike and driver’s ed raffle. Local Pittston performers Walter Weymouth and The Double Entendre will take the stage Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Alley-Pelletier said the team of around 40 volunteers is working until the very last day for the opening of the fair on Thursday at 8 a.m.

Like Norris, she believes that the size and community aspect of the fair is what sets the Pittston Fair apart from other Maine agricultural fairs.

“It’s the smallness of (the fair),” she said. “It’s not large, it’s a small admission fee to get in, it’s the locals and it’s just a small, quaint little fair. Everyone knows everyone.”

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