Waterford World's Fair

36 Green Road
Waterford, ME 04088

207-595-1601

About Us:

This fair began in 1850, one year after the Norway Fair (later Oxford County Fair.) Though it was incorporated as “The World's Fair” in 1928, it did not always have that name. In our archives we have a photocopy of an 1896 article from the Bethel newspaper which tells of the “Cattle Show and Fair” held on a Saturday in October (postponed from Friday because of rain.) Traditionally, fairs grew up around cattle and horse sales and it was little different in the late 19th century. The newspaper article tells of “some excellent stock on the ground and some interesting drawing matches” as well as “a few selling agents,” the “alligator man,” a merry-go-round and peanut venders. Prizes were awarded to draft oxen, large horses, small horses, Holstein and Jersey bulls. Prize winners had familiar last names, such as Sawin, Abbott, Pike, Morrill, Millett, Knightly, Merrill and Hobbs.

A curious fact about the committee to prepare the grounds in 1896 was that they all shared a first name: they were John Flint, John Horr, John Lewis, John Lord, John F. Mason and John P. Mason! Must have been confusing. Also, as at Farmers' Markets ever since medieval days in Europe, displays of prize-winning fruits and vegetables advertised the skill of the farmers. Henry Sawin took first prize on squash and other produce, including popcorn and twenty varieties of apples. Henry Plummer exhibited a first place cabbage which weighed 23 lbs. Mr. A. B. Washburn had “very fine potatoes” and Amos Barker had prize winning yellow corn. Ladies' “fancy work” was displayed, along with butter and flowers, and the winners had names like Mrs. Fiske, Fernall, Flint, Whitcombe, Allen and Shedd. Also on display: a Singer sewing machine and an 8-foot rattlesnake skin. In the 1970s Wilbur Button was interviewed about the fair — most of which is in our second history book (ppg. 116-117). “Tom Green's Fair,” as it was called in the beginning, was held for years on the North Waterford Common below the church and exhibits were set up on store platforms and in front of the schoolhouse (today the post office). Trotting horse races were held along the road from Lynchville Corner toward the dump. Once autos came into use, men were stationed along all the roads into town to collect 25 cents from each car — until eventually the State Police stopped this practice. Random prize amounts were distributed out of these fees but no records were kept until 1924.

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