The 167th Topsham Fair signals a step toward normalcy for locals during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The weeklong event, which runs through Sunday, has made a return after being canceled last year.

Visitors, vendors, business owners and 4-H animal handlers said it was good to be back.

“It’s wonderful to be out here,” Lewiston resident Richard Bernard said. “It’s frustrating to sit at home, but now we got a fair that people can attend.”

Most attendees at the fair Tuesday were unmasked, despite a surge of the COVID-19 delta variant.

Recently, Maine adopted the latest public health guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people wear a mask in general indoor settings in substantial or high community-transmission areas.

Russ Welch and Carmen Murphy of Maine Antique Power Association work to repair a Maytag model 72 engine at the Topsham Fair on Tuesday. The engine was used in the late twenties to power washing machines, according to Welch. Derek Davis 

“We are encouraging visitors to wear masks, but it’s not mandatory as of now. We are appealing to people to maintain distance whenever possible at the fairgrounds,” said Maria Brilliant, secretary at the Topsham Fair.

“I think we should be fine as long as we keep the distance and watch for people who might be sick or coughing,” said Breanna Miller, who wanted her kids to enjoy the fair before the school begins.

For Megan Cooper and her son attending the fair is an annual tradition. The Wiscasset resident said she enjoys attending the Topsham fair because it’s close to home.

“I missed the fair last year, so it’s nice to see so many happy faces around. I like the fair food and enjoy trying something new every time I come here,” said Cooper.

Her son, Joseph, 11, had something in particular that he was excited about.

“My favorite is the animal barn. I like feeding pigs and sheep, and it’s so much fun to be here,” he said

Joseph Cooper,11, feeds goats at the Topsham Fair. Payal Gangishetti

Foe Mare Oleary, the owner of a fried dough stand, the fair is an opportunity to meet with her old customers.

“I have been in the business for the last 27 years. A lot of regulars visit my stand. I was sad after the county fair was canceled last year,” said Oleary. “The pandemic drove me nuts. It’s hard to carry out day-to-day activities without income. People have started coming out a lot this year because they are sick of being cooped up at home. I look forward to serving people this year.”

The Topsham Fair will continue through Aug. 15.

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