Sydney Sirois of Sirois Family Farm in Lebanon arranges her display on Wednesday afternoon at Acton Fair. The fair starts today and winds down late Sunday afternoon. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

ACTON – Fair food and fair rides, a skillet throwing contest, pig scramble, beef and dairy shows and the trucks that can pull the most weight all point to one big event – the Acton Fair.

Starting this morning and running through Sunday, the 154th Acton fair promises a good time, good food, and is a celebration of the family farm.

The fair is operated by the York County Agricultural Association. Secretary Melissa Conner said those attending this year will see something a bit different even before they enter the gates – those arriving on Route 109 from the Sanford area will see a brand new, 70-foot Ferris wheel.

Cushing Amusements asked for the move, she said,for better midway visibility, and they’ll try it out this year, and see how it goes.

What else is new? The truck pulling track at Gate Four had been extended 100 feet to better accommodate pulling weights and there’s a new garden tractor pull in front of the grandstand, set for Sunday afternoon.

Everyone enjoys the Acton Fair, including Dena, left, and Venice, right, two cows owned by the Hill family, who own Redneck Ridge Farm in Arundel. Acton Fair starts today and winds down Sunday afternoon. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

In the Exhibition Hall on Wednesday as rain threatened outside, people were inside, arranging their displays or entering their artwork, needlework, home-cooked food like yeast rolls or muffins, for judging.

Sydney Sirois of Sirois Family Farm in Lebanon was finishing up her arrangement of herbs, and greens, baked and canned goods and tucking a basket of fresh vegetables into her eye-catching display.

The farm offers naturally raised chickens, turkeys and pork, vegetables, pies and other home-baked treats, along with goat’s milk soap, made from the milk from daughter Cathy Fadden’s herd.

Three generations are involved in the family farm.

Sydney Sirois said she entered the farm display contest years ago when her children were young, stopped for a while, and then began again, as her grandchildren grew.

On Wednesday, daughter-in-law Erica Sirois was helping with the display, while granddaughter Maria, 12, who operates the retail stand at the farm, looked on.

Perfect vegetables, grown here in York County, are among the displays at Acton Fair, which runs through Sunday. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

“We use the saying ‘many hands make light work,’” said Erica, noting that is true of farm life, where everyone pitches in to get the work done – even though many family members have other businesses, full-time jobs, kids’ activity commitments and community volunteer responsibilities.

The Acton Fair was first organized in 1866, founded by John Storer of Sanford, who donated $1,000 to the fund. It is the sole agricultural fair in York County.

The first “Worlds Fair” as it was called at the time, was held at Acton Corner Oct. 20 to 22, 1868, alternating with Shapleigh the next year, according to an online history of the fair.

In 1890, B.C. and Freeman Jordan gave the land for a fair at its present location off Route 109 in Acton, with the caveat that the fair group cut all wood from the property and haul it to the road side. Another part of the arrangement was that all the Jordan family members were to receive passes to all of the fairs held on the property.

Over in the cow barns on Wednesday afternoon, some, like the Hill family of Redneck Ridge Farm in Arundel, brought their animals in early, ahead of the rain storms that threatened to make chores a bit muddy and derail decorating the barn space. The family brought their camper and will stay at the fair through Sunday.

An array of sunflowers signals a bright, happy welcome outside an exhibition hall at Acton Fair. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

“Pete,” a Holstein calf born in March, seemed content in the barn space. Too young to be shown, Pete was along for the adventure.

Also on hand was a 10-year-old Holstein named Dena and 12-year-old Venice, a Brown Swiss cow. Both are expecting calves in December.

“She’s my baby,” said Emily Hill about Dena. “She’s the queen,” said her sister Lindsay Hill,  of Venice.

Both girls have been active in 4-H for years.

Acton Fair begins this morning with judging of show oxen and steers. There are a number of other judgings, a watermelon carving contest at 1 p.m., a crusin’ car show and the Kid’s Olympics, are among other events.

On Friday, 4-H dairy showmanship is on tap, and steer and oxen pulls are scheduled to begin around 9:30 a.m. There will be milking demonstrations, midway rides, and the selection and crowning of Miss Acton Fair is set for 8 p.m.

After the rabbit judging and draft horse, miniature horse and pony exhibitions on Saturday, there’s a grand parade at 10 a.m., followed by the women’s skillet throw at 11 a.m. A truck pull is set for 3 p.m. and a concert by American Ride at 8 p.m.

On Sunday, an interdenominational church service is set for 8:30 a.m., followed by a dairy goat show, antique tractor pull, and the ever-popular pig scramble at 11 a.m.

People can check out the rides at the midway or sample fair food, from tart lemonade, grilled sausages, deep-fried delights, the Sanford Springvale Rotary Club’s fried chicken livers, ice cream, apple crisp and more.

According to the National Weather Service in Gray, sun is in the forecast through Sunday.

For a full schedule, admission fees, and other information, check out the new Acton fair website at:

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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