TOPSHAM — A chrome-crushing cacophonous hallmark of fairs and festivals for decades, the demolition derby has proved so successful at the Topsham Fair that it’s being held three times this year.
In addition to the regular shows Wednesday and Saturday, the third derby day will be Sunday, the final day of the Aug. 7-12 fair.
“The Saturday-night derby is extremely popular, and it goes very late, so we decided to break it into two (days),” Marilyn Hunter, the fair’s director of entertainment and marketing, said in an interview July 25.
That way, the fair can hold its 9:15 p.m. Saturday fireworks show on time, “and also have some great entertainment for Sunday afternoon,” Hunter explained.
The trucks and vans class will be showcased at the Sunday derby, which takes place at Area 1 at the fairgrounds at 4 p.m. The Wednesday and Saturday derbies will both be held at Area 1 at 7 p.m.
“I really enjoy the derby nights, because it’s just so busy,” Hunter said. “For a fair organizer, that is really gratifying.”
She looks forward to the experiences her young daughter will have at the fair this year.
“For my family, we’re really looking forward to the rides and the animals this year,” Hunter added with a laugh. “Because for a 4-year-old, that’s so cute.”
Now in its 164th year, the Topsham Fair has graced several generations in Hunter’s family. Her grandparents – Henry and Marilyn Sandelin – were involved in years past, along with Hunter’s great-uncle, Frederick Ward, who was vice president of the board. Hunter has served on the board since 2008, a few years after moving back to the area after graduating college.
“I don’t think there are many places in Maine that you can get as much for your money” as the fair, she said. “As far as amusement parks and fairs in this state, we’re definitely on the top of the list of the most affordable.”
“The schedule is packed with entertainment from morning until night, every day,” Hunter said. “(Offering) things you just can’t see other places, like oxen pulling, and horse pulling, and harness racing.”
Among other activities new to next week’s fair is the Pine Tree Mini Tractor Pullers, which perform at Area 1 at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9.
Harness racing will be held the two days preceding the fair – Sunday, Aug. 5, and Monday, Aug. 6, both in Area 1 at 5 p.m. – and continues at 5 p.m. Tuesday, 1 p.m. Wednesday, and 1 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.
Other entertainment highlights include the Wild Horse Band and ATV Mud Runs on Tuesday, the Time Pilots Band on Thursday, and the Miss Topsham Fair Pageant and Redneck Truck Pull on Friday.
Log onto topshamfair.net for a full schedule. The fairgrounds are located off the Route 196 Coastal Connector.
The $12-per-day admission includes rides, events and parking, while children shorter than 3 feet tall get in for free. Senior citizens pay just $3 Tuesday, and children of military families are admitted at half the price on Sunday.