The Union Fair, which is set for its 147th straight edition in the coming weeks, has long been known to showcase a bevy of activities that showcase the agricultural side of Knox County.

It has demolition derbies and pig scrambles; blueberry and whoopie pie-eating contests; concerts, tractor pulls, harness racing, sheepherding and Moxie-chugging contests, to name a few.

Now, the Union Fair has added another happening that checks many of the “Real Maine Agricultural Fair” boxes: for the first time, the Thunder Valley Lawn Mower Drag Races will hit the racetrack Saturday, Aug. 25, at 4 p.m.

Drivers will provide their own riding lawnmowers — which may be modified depending on class — and participate in races down a 150-foot long straight track in a double-elimination format.

All drivers must wear a helmet, be at least 16 years of age with a valid driver’s license, and, if under 18, have a signed waiver from a legal parent or guardian.

Rules for all classes include: must be a stock mower engine, chassis, drive train and rear end transaxle, which cut grass at one time; working brakes and four wheels; naturally aspirated; pump gas (94 octane) only (octane boost allowed to 110 octane for engine protection); no zero-turn mowers allowed; and must have a kill switch or key.

Mowers are allowed to move up in as many classes as they like with the same mower.

The four classes for the event, with specification descriptions included, are: A Class Hydostatic/Diesel (750 cc or less, governor override allowed, mower deck can be removed, modifications to wheels, body and exhaust allowed); B Class Stock Mower (750 cc or less, governor override allowed, must have operating mower deck, no other modifications allowed); C Class Super Stocks (500 cc or less, and 501 to 750 cc races, most be a stock engine, no modification to internal engine with exception of steel push rods, exhaust and drive train modifications allowed, governor override allowed, mandatory wheelie bar and must wear helmet); and D Class Modified Stock (750 cc or less, modifications allowed to internal and external engine, stock mower drive train and stock mower rear transaxle).

The winner of each class, along with the winner of the class’s loser’s bracket, will face off in a best two-of-three format to determine the overall winner of the class.

Aaron Boetsch of Lincolnville, who will run the event, said the drag races were being readied for last year’s Union Fair but hit a pothole, so to speak, in the planning stages.

“We approached them and they said ‘Yeah that sounds like a good thing,’ but the fire marshall shut us down because we didn’t have cement barriers,” he said. “But we’re good to go this year. The fair bought the barriers and will have them for future use.”

Boetsch said a group of “30 or so” drivers from both Lincolnville and Islesboro have been holding races for the past six or seven years, but on a much smaller scale, with some races drawing as many as 400 spectators. He hopes bringing it to Union Fair will help the events grow, perhaps to other local fairs and beyond.

Trophies will be given out across all four classes. First place drivers will win $70 and second place $30 per class, with additional cash prizes likely to be split among the top two (C and D) classes.

Registration for the event will be from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday with a $10 registration fee for each mower.

For more information on the races, contact Boetsch at or 230-4671.

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