September 2, 2013

Rain puts premature end to Windsor Fair's 125th run

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WINDSOR — The last day of this year's Windsor Fair, in its 125th installment, was a washout.

click image to enlarge

Brea McPherson, 16, of China, leads her steer named Champ toward the show ring for the 4-H Baby Beef Auction today at the Windsor Fair. The auction was the only event on the fair's final day to survive heavy rain. There were 12 market steers and three market lambs, raised by 4-H members, auctioned off at the event, according to Curtis Prine, the fair's livestock superintendent. Prine said that the 4-H members had to buy a young animal before the beginning of the year, raise, feed and get it ready to compete for a show Saturday evening. The animals were then sold at auction today.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

click image to enlarge

Workers climbing down from dismantling the Ferris wheel are reflected in a large puddle today at the Windsor Fair. Except for the 4-H livestock auction, all fair events were cancelled today because of the heavy rain in the morning.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Thomas Foster, president of the fair, said organizers decided to cancel most events at the fair because of downpours forecast for early Monday morning. The fair was scheduled to run from Aug. 25 through Monday.

On Monday morning, the National Weather Service said many communities in Central Maine could expect 3 to 5 inches of rain, leading to a flood warning being issued for southern Kennebec, Lincoln, Sagadahoc and surrounding counties.

"It's coming down in buckets right now," Foster said in the morning.

Rides and harness racing were closed, and the only event that remained on the schedule was an afternoon beef and lamb auction, putting a damper on attendance on the fair's last day.

Still, Foster said attendance was estimated at just under 100,000 this year. That threshold is eclipsed most years, and Foster said it likely would have been this year if the fair opened Monday.

"It's been a good week," he said. "No records or anything like that, but we had a good year."

Maj. Ken Mason of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, the deputy chief of the private police force hired by the Windsor Fair, echoed those words for the law enforcement side.

Mason said the 24-person police force, 18 of them full-time police officers and the rest trained reserve officers, made two arrests over the course of the fair.

Mason said one juvenile was arrested and charged with theft and resisting arrest on the first day of the fair, Aug. 25. The next day, Mason said Maurice Harrington, 57, of Windsor, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

The fair is normally quiet, but the number of arrests fluctuates by year, Mason said. Some years there aren't any, some years there are more.

"Everything went very smoothly," Mason said. "The upper echelon that runs this fair helps us keep it free of, let's just say, people who want to make it unbearable for other people."

Michael Shepherd — 621-5632
mshepherd@mainetoday.com

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