Livestock will return to the Bangor State Fair this summer
The livestock are returning to the Bangor State Fair this summer after a three-year absence, and they are going to have some pretty comfortable digs.
All the animal and agricultural exhibits will be housed in the Cross Insurance Center throughout the fair’s four-day run in August.
The return of the livestock portion of the Bangor State Fair comes a year after its absence sparked outrage from longtime participants who had missed the two previous years due to the pandemic. At the time, city officials said Bangor had to demolish the barns that housed the agricultural exhibits due to the structures’ deteriorating conditions.
Since then Chris McGill, Bangor State Fair general manager, has been meeting with city officials and members of the agriculture community to find an alternative location to house 4-H livestock shows, auctions and exhibits.
Turns out, the solution was staring them right in the face.
The Cross Insurance Center is part of the Bass Park complex which includes the fairgrounds.
The facility, known for hosting the annual high school basketball tournament and concerts, has everything needed to house the agriculture portion of the fair, according to Abigail Michaud, special events coordinator at the Cross Center.
“Chris pulled me aside and proposed the idea to me,” Michaud said. “It was a bit of a shock at first, but if we can do it, let’s look at how we go forward to plan what we need.”
This is not the first time the Cross Insurance Center has hosted live animals. Just last month the Professional Bull Riders rodeo was held there, and the center has been the site of the Anah Shrine Circus for years.
After he did a walkthrough of the building, Michaud said a mock layout was prepared and forwarded to the local 4-H clubs for input.
“They saw the need and wanted to bring the livestock back to the fair,” said Corrina Caron, co-leader of the Penobscot 4-H Livestock Club. “They had to be really creative on their end and they hit the nail on the head on how it is going to work.”
Plans call for temporary pens on the center’s arena floor to house cattle, goats and sheep. The space will also include an enclosed ring for the annual 4-H livestock show and auction. The popular “Old McDonald’s Farm,” with exhibits aimed at young children, will also be on the arena floor.
“This is a structure that I think other fairs will be envious of,” Caron said. “I know this is the first year they are doing this but what an amazing place and it can only grow from here.”
The Cross Center is a bit of an upgrade from the old fairground barns. The animals and exhibits will be completely covered in a climate-controlled environment.
“It’s a great opportunity to utilize the space during the fair days,” Michaud said. “It allows fair patrons to come in out of the heat [and] there is seating available that is elevated so they can watch the animal shows and auctions.”
Last summer, Caron hosted a livestock show and auction on her Corinna farm to replace the event traditionally held at the Bangor fair.
“Our club is super excited about the Cross Center announcement,” Caron said. “We know a new venue will bring learning curves but we are ready to adjust as needed to make this a must-see event.”