2016-08-25 / Front Page

It’s Acton Fair time

Animals, food and fun on tap through Sunday
By TAMMY WELLS
Senior Staff Writer

Above: Sandy Guillemette of East Coast Farm in Lyman clips Clementine, a 5-month-old Ayrshire heifer, at Acton Fair Wednesday. York County’s only agricultural fair began this morning and continues through Sunday. Right: All sorts of critters – like this alpaca – will be shown at the fair. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune Above: Sandy Guillemette of East Coast Farm in Lyman clips Clementine, a 5-month-old Ayrshire heifer, at Acton Fair Wednesday. York County’s only agricultural fair began this morning and continues through Sunday. Right: All sorts of critters – like this alpaca – will be shown at the fair. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune ACTON — A couple of mini lop-eared bunny rabbits twitch their noses. A calf twitches its tail.

Folks are toting hay and polishing up food concessions, and inside one exhibition hall on Wednesday afternoon, judges were eyeing vegetable displays with a view to awarding coveted blue ribbons. Carnival workers set up rides, and the fair office was busy answering innumerable questions.

Today, however, is different. Everything is in place, and the Acton Fair was scheduled to open on time this morning, just as it has for the last 151 years. The fair runs through Sunday afternoon.


TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune From 4-H showmanship and a skillet-throwing show to carnival rides and fair food like the Sanford Springvale Rotary Club’s famed grilled chicken livers, there will be plenty for people to see and do over the next four days.

There are events like the oxen pull or the ever-popular pig scramble on Sunday afternoon, a Miss Acton fair pageant, country music, trinkets for sale, stuffed animals to win – and a parade.

Acton Fair is York County’s sole agricultural fair, and is a tradition that keeps folks coming back year after year while attracting new enthusiasts.

“We’re expecting good weather and lots of people and a great agricultural fair,” said fair President Roger Ridley.

Ridley, who was named president of the fair earlier this year, is a familiar fellow at the fairgrounds.

“I’ve been coming here for 55 years,” he said.

Emily and Lindsay Hill of Redneck Ridge Farm in Arundel have been coming to the fair since they were little. Now 16 and 15 years old, respectively, they were forking hay to their cattle Wednesday afternoon and setting up the stall just so.

At home, the girls milk 18 head of dairy cows twice a day.

“I just love it,” said Emily Hill as she deposited a forkful of hay next to Cora, a 6-month-old Jersey heifer that she’ll show in the 4-H competition. Cora, one of 11 “baby” cows the girls brought to the fair this year, was born on the farm.

Emily Hill plans a career in dairy management, and hopes to go to Vermont Technical College after she graduates. Her sister, Lindsay, is eyeing veterinary school, and plans to open a large animal practice. It’s eight years of schooling, but Lindsay said that’s not a problem.

“I like school,” she said.

Outside another barn, Sandy Guillemette was grooming Clementine, a 5- month-old Ayrshire heifer, running an electric clipper over her hide to create a long tuft along her topline (backbone) that will later be enhanced with hairspray and other grooming materials before showing.

The owner of East Coast Farm in Lyman, Guillemette was raised in the farm-and-fair tradition at Ridley Farm in nearby Shapleigh. Once Clementine is perfectly groomed, she will be shown in the open class dairy division, Guillemette said.

Ridley said fairgoers will see a few changes this year. There’s a new area cleared for the tractor pull, providing more room for events, and there will be more varieties of animals to observe.

As well as the traditional cows folks see at agricultural fairs such as Holsteins, Ayrshires, Jerseys, Guernseys and Brown Swiss, folks will also see White Parks and British White varieties – cows that have been traced as far back as Roman Britain – and Scottish Highland cattle.

When Ridley was a lad, the fair was all about cattle, horses and oxen pulls. And while those events remain popular agricultural fair staples, other animals are now being displayed, such as a duet of alpacas and rabbits that range from mini-lops to Satins and Rex varieties.

For more on the Acton Fair, see the schedule in this newspaper and visit actonfair.net.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.

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