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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: September 18, 2017

How do you fair? Take this quiz!

Written by: Ray Routhier
Skillet toss events at Maine fairs are a must see. Catch one at Fryeburg Fair this fall.  Photo by Joe Phelan/Staff Photographer

Skillet toss events at Maine fairs are a must see. Catch one at Fryeburg Fair this fall.
Photo by Joe Phelan/Staff Photographer

Time is running out to find the fairest fair of them all.

Maine’s fair season is almost over, with just four left, but they’re some of the best: Farmington Fair, Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Cumberland County Fair and Fryeburg Fair.

So, it’s crucial to pick the one that fits your personal fair fantasy.

They all have animals, exhibits on farming and farming history, lots of food and roving entertainers. All but Common Ground, with its emphasis on organic farming, have lots of loud and flashy amusement rides.

So how does one choose? Luckily, we’ve come up with a handy quiz to help you sort the pig races from pig scrambles, the fried Twinkies from fried tofu, and the manure pitching contest from everything else. At the end, you should be able to find your fairytale fair.

GETTING YOUR FAIR GRADE

If you could watch any animal doing something completely unexpected it would be:

A. Tiny piglets trying to evade 10 kids chasing them with burlap sacks
B. Donkeys, just standing there, being judged against other donkeys
C. Pigs racing against other pigs, speeding across the arena to get their favorite snack (peanut butter and jelly, Oreos, whatever)
D. Sheep trying to buck kids off their back, like woolly broncos

What’s your favorite fair food?

A. Tom’s Jumbo Donuts, which are bigger than your head
B. Tofu frites
C. Maine wild blueberry cake
D. Corn dogs

Professor Paddy-Whack Rick Adam of Buckfield will do his one-man band act at Fryeburg Fair this year, as he has for some 37 years.   Photo courtesy of Rick Adam.

Professor Paddy-Whack Rick Adam of Buckfield will do his one-man band act at Fryeburg Fair this year, as he has for some 37 years.
Photo courtesy of Rick Adam.

What gives you a bigger thrill?

A. Firefighters using their hoses with pinpoint accuracy to move a small ball along a rope
B. Someone teaching you to sharpen a European scythe
C. Trucks running over things
D. Cars crashing into other cars

What music gets your toes tapping?

A. Beatles tunes played by a man with a drum on his back, accordion strapped to his chest and cymbals rigged to his knees
B. Anything played on the spoons
C. Adult contemporary/country crossover folk-rock, personified in Maine by the Don Campbell Band
D. Both kinds: country and western

It takes real skill, in your opinion, to throw or even lift:

A. Anvils
B. Manure
C. A 1,000-pound pumpkin
D. A bagpipe

Fill in the blank. “I’m a pretty good cook, I think I should enter my _____ at the fair this year.”

A. Whoopie pies
B. Kefir (fermented milk drink)
C. Maine maple apple muffins
D. Boston brown bread

Fill in the blank. “I’m also pretty good at making stuff, I think I should enter my _____ at the fair this year.”

A. Crocheted poncho
B. Beeswax cakes
C. Child-size smocked two-piece suit
D. Bedspread

BUXTON, ME - SEPTEMBER 2: The Stanley's pigs, L to R, Bedo and Annie, Tuesday, September 2, 2014. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)

The Stanley’s pigs, Bedo and Annie. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Your idea of the perfect location for a fall fair is:

A. In the mountains, preferably as close to scenic New Hampshire as possible
B. In a town with a name that literally means togetherness
C. As close to your home as possible
D. In a college town you often drive through on the way to skiing but have never actually stopped in

When nobody’s looking, you always sneak off alone to check out the fair’s:

A. Children’s petting zoo
B. Shell necklace workshop
C. G-force laser tag game
D. Amateur drag racing

A fair is not really a fair unless it has:

A. A skillet-toss competition
B. A Celebration of Wheeled Mobility bike parade
C. The biggest pumpkins
D. Three horse pulls a day

SCORING KEY

Each answer lists something that fair actually has, like giant pumpkins, donkey shows or mutton bustin’.
Add up how many As, Bs, Cs and Ds you picked, and whichever you have most of will give you a good idea of what fair you’d like best: As, head to the Fryeburg Fair; Bs, the Common Ground Country Fair is for you; Cs should go to the Cumberland County Fair; Ds need to be Farmington Fair-bound.
To see more about the events at each fair, see the information box on page M15.

DISCLAIMER: Fairs are like pizza, you might like one kind more than another, but they’re all great.

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