Union Fair is the go-to for late-summer fun in Midcoast Maine, offering eight days of everything from pig scrambles to Laser Tag. The fair runs Saturday, Aug. 20, through the following Saturday, Aug. 27, at the fairgrounds just off Route 17.

Animals are always a part of a traditional agricultural fair, but they also are among the entertainers this year. The popular Dock Dogs will be back at it — no matter that the fairgrounds are on dry land — Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 20 and 21, beginning 8 a.m. each day. For the next six days, the outdoor arena will host Animal Alley, which fair entertainment coordinator Abraham Knight said is a cross between a zoo and an educational program.

“The kids can go through and talk to people about animals and their environment, kind of an endangered species-type thing,” he said of the New York State-based attraction.

“It’s a nice program, they go all over the country and talk about this stuff,” he said, adding that Sunday also will see the return of barrel-racing near the parking area.

As far as human entertainers, there are performances scheduled for all eight days, shows in the revamped Entertainment Center and a few on the roll-out-to-the-racetrack grandstand stage.

“Saturday [Aug. 20] night we’ll have the True Country band playing and Sunday’s the Maine Premier Country Show,” Knight said.

The big country concert, sponsored again by New Country Bear 97.1, features Sharon Hood & Dixon Road, the Chris Fyfe Band and the Dyer Neck Gang; see the story linked below. Younger talents also will take the Entertainment Center stage during the 7 p.m. show, including several winners from last year’s talent show, he said.

“Gracie Gillen is going to sing the national anthem at the Premier Show; she’s from Gray, but her grandmother lives up around this area and she got her into the talent show last year,” said Knight. “She is 9 years old, but boy, can she belt out a song!”

Said talent show starts winnowing down its entries at noon opening day, with the finale Tuesday starting at 7 p.m. On Friday night, the coronation of the next Maine Wild Blueberry Queen is followed by a street dance — well, race track dance — fueled by local rockers Creatures of Habit.

Speaking of dancing, the fair is honoring its country roots with a contra dance Monday night, albeit with a very 21st-century approach. Perpetual e-motion — the power duo of John Cote and Ed Howe — melds traditional and electronic dance music.

“That’s going to be fun. Perpetual e-motion is going to be on the dirt, at the grandstand, plenty of room down there,” said Knight.

During the days, a variety of musicians will perform, many favorites from past years, covering a range of styles and popping up in the Entertainment Center, in Sherman Park or strolling the grounds. Among the strollers are the Blue Hill Brass, whom Knight praises for being personable as well as musical.

“They talk to people and say, what do ya wanna hear? Well, we’re gonna do this now,” he said. “They’re just really great, they really are!”

The final Saturday always features children’s performers and has two favorites on tap, Rick Charette and Belfast’s Scot Cannon. Older folks can expect to find just about every kind of music during fair week.

“We have gospel singing, Ken and Jane Brooks and Tommy Thompson, the Juke Rockets, blues; Miners Creek, bluegrass; and Jim Gallant, he does a little country, a little folk, a little bit of everything,” Knight said. “So it’ll be a pretty good lineup.”

And the Union Fair schedule has a lot more packed into it; for day-by-day schedules and more information, visit unionfair.org.