The Ferris wheel is back in business this week at the Cumberland Fair. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

The Cumberland Fair is in full swing, living up to its “Twice the Fun in ’21” motto, the fair’s president says.

The motto is fitting after last year’s fair was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, said Cumberland Farmer’s Club President Lyle Merrifield.

“We coined that phrase, and I think it’s definitely showing,” Merrifield said. “There was twice the excitement while setting up. People are very excited.”

Fairgoers are feeling the same way.

A harness horse driver at the Cumberland Fair Monday. Post time is 1:30 p.m. Oct. 1-3. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

“It’s really great to just be outside and to get away from the house,”  said Jeff Mayerson of Lewiston, attending the fair Monday morning with his wife, Kathy.

“In our book, early morning is the best time to come down. We’re just enjoying watching the horse pulling and seeing all the animals,” she said.

Merrifield said about 6,000 people turned out came for the first day Sunday, on par with pre-COVID attendance. The fair runs through Saturday.

He emphasized that the fair has taken pandemic safety precautions.

Ox distance pull at the Cumberland Fair. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

“This is a great place to get out and recreate. We encompass about 100 acres to put the fair on. So we have plenty of elbow room for people to get outside,” Merrifield said. “All of our events are going on simultaneously, so a lot of people aren’t all congregating in one area.”

As of Monday, Cumberland County has had a total of 14,738 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“I want the public to know that we tried to take the time to make sure they’re safe while they’re here,” Merrifield said. “I really want them to come and enjoy the day.”

Julie Perry of Scarborough said she was happy to be able to bring her 3-year-old granddaughter to the fair.

“Last year was very isolating, so we’re just happy to expose her to all the fair has going on, since we couldn’t last year,” Perry said. “Now we can socialize with more people and it’s just great to see everyone out and about again.”

Events at this year’s fair include the usual favorites: Plenty of 4-H shows, harness racing, ox and horse pulls, cooking demonstrations, pig races, live music, carnival rides and no shortage of food. An added even this year, however, is a Johnson and Johnson vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at Gate 8. No appointment is needed.

A schedule of all events can be found at cumberlandfair.com.

Plans already are in the works for next year, when the fair will mark its 150th anniversary. Expect a larger fair than normal in 2022, Merrifield said.

Families enjoy Old MacDonald’s Farm at the Cumberland Fair. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

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