The Union Fair entertainment goes back to the future this year, with two concerts paying tribute to the past; and another two showcasing the best of the Maine’s current alt-country/folk scene. Mixed throughout are country, classic and rock favorites, a little gospel, local talent and children’s performers.

The 147th Union Fair & Wild Maine Blueberry Festival runs Saturday through Saturday, Aug. 18 through 25, at the fairgrounds off Route 17. Performances will take place at a several locations: the Grandstand, which is a pull-onto-the-race-track stage for Whiskey Throttle’s shows before the demolition derbies, as well as the coronation and other events; Sherman Park, which has a small gazebo-like stage for some of the daytime performances; and the half shell Entertainment Center, where the big evening shows, the annual talent competition and some daytime shows are set. On the fair’s final day, dedicated to children, Belfast mime and musician Scot Cannon will roam around, making the grounds his stage.

The Entertainment Center, which became a permanent structure last year, will have a nearby beer/wine garden for the three featured concerts this year, opening one hour before show time. Those who have a hankering for libation at other times during the week will find samples, pairings and more in the Maine Craft Beverage & Wine Pavilion, operated by the nearby Savage Oakes Vineyard & Winery and featuring a riverfront deck.

First of said big three concerts at the Entertainment Center is the Vyntyge Skynyrd show Sunday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m. This New England band will be “singing songs about the Southland,” celebrating Ronnie Van Zant's Lynyrd Skynyrd with the band’s music from 1973 to 1977. Frontman and lead vocalist Dave Musgrove has the voice — and the hat — to pull off all the early Skynyrd favorites including, yes, “Freebird.”

Another opportunity to close your eyes and let your ears take you to another place and time will arise Wednesday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m. when Dead Sessions North will bring a Grateful Dead Night set to open the Mallett Brothers Band concert. Grateful Dead Night was created by Midcoast native Rodney Sturdee, guitarist and singer formerly with Lazy Lightning, A Band Beyond Description and other jam bands covering the music of the Grateful Dead over the past 30-plus years. The lineup of seasoned musicians headed to the fair includes Vermont jammer Seth Yacavone of Dead Sessions and his own band; Dead Sessions bass player Pat May; BBD and the Broken Men’s Lindsey Montana on keys and vocals; local legend Mary Bergey on vocals; Sturdee on guitar and vocals; and, on drums, Lincolnville’s own Jon Fishman of Phish.

It would be no shock if Fishman stuck around to join the Mallett Brothers Band, as he has done a number of times. Maine’s MBB has a dedicated following and has played some great Union Fair shows — including a last-minute fabulous fill-in last summer. Their distinctive mix of alt- and classic country, hard and roots rock, singer/songwriter, jam and, thanks to this year’s “The Falling of the Pine” and “Vive l’Acadie” albums, folk/trad throwdown makes for a night to dance away. The band features Will and Luke Mallett, Wally Wenzel, Andrew Martelle, Nick Leen and Chuck Gagne. Wednesday night’s entertainment is sponsored by Lincolnville Center General Store and will be capped by fireworks.

The annual Wild Maine Blueberry Festival Day concert Friday, Aug. 24, will feature Maine’s “holler folk” trio The Ghost of Paul Revere, playing 7 p.m. and sponsored by Maine's New Country Leader, 97.1 The Bear — more on that, and Saturday’s children’s entertainment, upcoming. Note that the big Entertainment Center shows are BYOC — bring your own chair (or blanket), as seating is limited.

Of course, there’s a whole lot more than music at Union Fair. In addition to all the traditional agricultural fair offerings, there is a midway, harness racing, daily demos, the aforementioned talent show, demolition derbies and fireworks, and, really happening this year, lawnmower drag racing. For the complete schedule, visit; and see the booklet in the Aug. 9 issue of the Courier-Gazette, Camden Herald or Republican Journal, available online at knox[or waldo]