The 2017 Union Fair & Maine Wild Blueberry Festival runs Saturday through Saturday, Aug. 19 to 26, on the grounds just off Route 17. In addition to all the traditional agricultural fair offerings, there are a midway, harness racing, demolition derbies, fireworks and daily live entertainment. Oh, and one more thing.

“We’re not going to have the truck pulls this year; we’re having lawn mower drag races! That’s the last Saturday in the late afternoon, early evening,” said Abraham Knight, longtime trustee of entertainment options at the fair. “It’ll be right on the track in front of the grandstand.”

Also playing in front of the grandstand is a newcomer to the fair but familiar favorite of the Midcoast dance crowd. Martha Vineyard’s Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish will perform Sunday at 7 p.m.

The first weekend’s entertainment options also include the preliminaries of the fair’s talent show (Saturday at 12:30 p.m.) and 1 and 3 p.m. sets by the Murky Water Band Sunday, all in the fair’s Entertainment Center. In the works for several years, The Entertainment Center is now a permanent structure, located across from the midway between Blueberry Acres and the Craft Barn.

“The funds for that came from the show we did last year [at Rockland’s Lincoln Street Center],” said Knight. “We had to expend minimal fair money, because it almost all came from the fundraiser, and I have to say a big thanks to everybody who dealt with that.”

 

Aug. 19-26

Other locations for fair performances are the aforementioned grandstand; and Sherman Park, between the restaurant and exhibition hall. As is traditional, there will be gospel music at high noon Sunday, performed by Bruce McGuinness; and pre-fireworks music Wednesday evening in the tree-shaded park — Country Mist, featuring Don and Duane Nickerson, plays that set this year.

“And there’s music before and during the demo derbies, too,” Knight said. “Last year we started out, and Living Room Circus donated their time. So this year we hired them to come back and do it on the first Saturday.”

Southern rockers Whiskey Throttle, Belfast native Duane Nickerson’s band, will play before the fair’s second demolition derby Thursday.

“They’re going to be on the track, right down by the grandstand. They’ll probably start like 6 o’clock, play to whenever the derby gets started and when there’s a break in between,” said Knight.

Most days, there are a couple of sets of music in the afternoon in the Entertainment Center. On Monday, Instigator plays at 1 and 3 p.m.; the big draw that night is the Maine Wild Blueberry Queen Coronation at 7:30 p.m. at the grandstand.

On Tuesday (Senior Citizens' Day), fair regulars Ken and Jane Brooks, with Fred “Tommy” Thompson, will offer traditional country, bluegrass, gospel and folk at 1 and 3 p.m. And at 7 p.m., the Entertainment Center will host the final round and finale of the annual talent show, this year awarding a total of $900 in prizes.

Wednesday afternoon, the Knox County Sheriff’s Department will take over the Entertainment Center for K-9 demos, so Kathi-Ellen Nordon will perform easy-listening favorites at 1 p.m. in Sherman Park. Thursday at 1 and 3 p.m., CCRMC will play ‘70s and ‘80s rock in the Entertainment Center.

“This is a new band with a group of seasoned musicians that have been playing the area for a long time. CCRMC stands for Continuous Classic Rock Mid Coast,” said Knight. “They will be playing all of the favorite songs of the Eagles, Creedence and many more, not a show you want to miss!”

Friday is, as always, Maine Wild Blueberry Festival Day, served up with its traditional accompaniment of country music. True Country Band will play at 1 and 3 p.m. in the Entertainment Center. And the Premier Country Show, sponsored by the New Country Bear radio stations, will feature “The Voice” runner-up Jake Worthington at 7 p.m.; the grandstand concert will be opened at 6 p.m. by Maine country royalty Chris Fyfe, Fred “Tommy” Thompson and Denny Breau.

The last day of the fair is always Children’s Day, and that means Maine’s own Rick Charette, who will perform at 1 and 4 p.m. in the Entertainment Center.

Music is just one ingredient in Union Fair’s summer stew. For the full schedule of events and other information about attending, visit unionfair.org; look for the premium booklet all around the Midcoast; and grab the supplement in the Aug. 17 Courier Publications papers.

NOTE: The Mallett Brothers Band with guest drummer Jon Fishman will play a late-add dance party Wednesday night, Aug. 23; see link below.