CUMBERLAND — Kids walked around the petting zoo at the Cumberland County Fair on Sunday afternoon, trying to pat and feed the animals.

Five ducks waddled together, the chickens moved quickly, and the baby goats scampered around the children.

“Can I feed the chickens?” Claudia Yurrita asked her mother.

The 4-year-old filled her palm with food and walked toward the pack of chickens. She reached out her hand and sprinkled some food on the sawdust blanketing the ground. Claudia set another small pile on a concrete sill so the chickens could see it better.

“She loves this,” said her mother, Bobbi Yurrita of Windham. “My stepfather has goats, and they grow so quickly. Claudia loves the baby goats.”

The petting zoo was one of many attractions at the Cumberland County Fair, which held its opening day under cloudy skies Sunday.

The smells of fried dough, Italian sausages and french fries wafted in the air as children carried oversized balloons of Nickelodeon characters and prizes won at the games on the fairgrounds.

Near the petting zoo, some members from the Southern Maine Dairy Goat Association sold fudge and cheese (made with goats’ milk) along with grains to feed the animals. Ken Silsby and his wife, Nona, who own Kenona Farm in Osborn, brought 17 goats to show at the fair. Ken Silsby said he will hold a goat milking contest from around 5 tonight through Friday.

He said the fair is an important event that raises awareness of Maine’s agricultural industry.

“Today we expect between 300 to 400 school kids coming through here, some from downtown Portland who haven’t got a clue what a farm is like,” Silsby said. “It’s very important. From an agriculture standpoint, it promotes our products.”

The 139th annual fair featured a number of events Sunday, including the 23rd annual pumpkin contest, a cooking demonstration, pig races and harness racing.

Devin Maheu, 9, of Bucksport participated in the miniature horse show with his horse, Kitty. In the 10 and under division, he won first place for youth showmanship; third place in youth halter; second place for youth jumping; and first place for obstacle trail.

In the pumpkin weigh-off, Rick Davis took first place with an 887-pound pumpkin. Gary Hearrin finished second with his 785-pounder, and John Chandler of Cumberland won third place with a 508-pounder.

In the squash category, Tanner Hawkes won first place with his 269-pound squash.

In the children’s pumpkin-growing competition, Eric Wilcox won first place with a 539-pounder, and Hannah Spaulding took second with her 197-pound pumpkin.

Andrew Storey, a local fourth-grader, won top honors for the most beautiful pumpkin.

Another highlight of the festival was a performance by comedian Bob Marley, who wrapped up Sunday’s events.

Mike Timmons, a director of the fair and past president of the Cumberland Farmers Club, the fair’s sponsor, said he began going to the fair when he was a kid. The fair is run by volunteers who “give their heart and soul to making it a family event,” Timmons said.

“The key to the success of the whole fair, believe it or not, is the sunshine,” he said. “It’s not that shiny, but it’s not raining.” 5 p.m., the cloudy skies had given way to a light mist.

Events at the fair will run through Oct. 2. For more information, go to

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]