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Essex County to celebrate 165 years of fair

A new favorite, the supervisor’s milking contest, will be part of the opening ceremonies at the 165th Essex County Fair Wednesday, July 31.

A new favorite, the supervisor’s milking contest, will be part of the opening ceremonies at the 165th Essex County Fair Wednesday, July 31. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

—  It is one of the oldest continuously-running agricultural and county fairs in the country. The Essex County Fair will celebrate its 165th birthday starting Wednesday, July 31.

The fair, held annually at the county fairgrounds in Westport every year since the Civil War, will open on July 31 and continue through Sunday, Aug. 4, featuring a brand new midway and several new activities and shows for all ages.

The fair has hired East Coast Midways out of Clinton, ME, to serve as the rides provider this year. Rides will be open every day of the fair starting at noon, with the exception of opening day when they will open once ride inspection has been completed.

“We are excited to have this group come in and we plan on having a midway that is bigger and better,” fair board secretary Bertha Rand said. “Along with rides, they will be bringing games and vendors.”

New events this year include the return of hypnotist Michael Blaine, who will be performing at 3 and 7 p.m. on July 31.

“We were the first fair that he ever performed at,” Rand said. “He has just grown from there and now he is known across the United States. Even though he has a very tight schedule, he agreed to return to do these shows on Wednesday.”

On Thursday, Aug. 1, the first ever Essex County Fair Beauty Pageant will be held at 6 p.m. Organized by Angel Face Pageants, the event is for boys and girls in several age divisions. To learn more, visit Angelfacepageants.com.

Other new events include the Haulin’ Junk figure 8 competition Aug. 2 and the Chris Higbee band Sunday, Aug. 4.

“He is one of these guys who comes down into the audience and gets involved with them,” Rand said. “He plays a kind of country music that we thought people would like and that is what attracted us to him.”

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