Kyle Ahern, 14, from Dexter, enjoys a thrilling ride on the Scrambler as his friend Brady Adams, 10, takes cover until the ride is over at the 2019 Bangor State Fair. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

A condensed version of the Bangor State Fair will start next week, a year after the 2020 edition of the fair was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The abbreviated version of the 170-year-old fair will open at Bass Park on Thursday, Aug. 5 and run through Sunday, Aug. 8, and will feature only rides, games and food vendors. Other typical offerings, including agricultural events, truck and tractor pulls, the demolition derby, live music and the petting zoo, are on hold for this year, though fair organizers said they plan to have the full nine-day fair in 2022.

“Coming out of the pandemic, with all that uncertainty, we just couldn’t do any planning for the fair, especially with our staff furloughed,” said Tony Vail, director of the Cross Insurance Center, which just reopened for live events this month after a 16-month closure. “There was no way to turn around a large-scale event in that amount of time. But, we still wanted to do something.”

Like nearly every other fair and festival across the state, the Bangor State Fair was canceled in 2020 as gathering restrictions due to the pandemic remained in place for most of the year. Vail said that even though this year’s edition of the fair is much smaller, he hopes it’ll still provide a taste of the fun fair-goers have come to expect over the decades.

“We just hope it brings some fun and enjoyment to the community, after what has been a really long and difficult year,” he said. “We’re doing the best we can to get back open, safely, and bring events back to the community. And this is just the start of that.”

Entry admission for the fair is $5 this year, and wristbands are $20 on Thursday and Friday and $25 on Saturday and Sunday.

Other upcoming state fairs around Maine that are happening in full or with condensed schedules include the Northern Maine Fair in Presque Isle, Aug. 5-8; the Topsham Fair, Aug. 10-15; the Skowhegan State Fair, Aug. 12-21, the Union Fair, Aug. 21-28; the Windsor Fair, Aug. 29-Sept. 6; and the Blue Hill Fair, Sept. 2-6.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.