23 Jul 2020

Waterford World’s Fair

Real Maine / About Us / Blog / Seasons / Summer / Waterford World’s Fair

A World’s Fair? In North Waterford, Maine?

In 1928, residents of North Waterford formed an agricultural society. They established their local fair at the current North Waterford fairgrounds. According to local records, that year residents started to call their local event a “world’s fair.”

“World’s fairs” were very popular in the U.S. following the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. That was the first World’s Fair held in the U.S., and honored the country’s centennial. The world’s fair movement celebrated industry, science, and technology. The Philadelphia event featured exhibition halls, demonstrations, and temporary hotels to house visitors. More than 30,000 people attended most days. The Waterford World’s Fair celebrated rural culture, agriculture, farm work, domestic skills, and tests of strength. Thus it was surely ironic when locals called their little agriculture fair in Waterford a “world’s fair.” (Learn more.)

Today, the Waterford World’s Fair continues to be a true rural celebration. “The agricultural part of our society has diminished until most Americans are unaware of the skill required to farm successfully. Our fair is dedicated to preserving Maine’s rural heritage by showcasing what agriculture is all about,” according to William Winslow, dairy farmer & past president.

Along with agricultural activities, you’ll find children’s games, musical entertainment, horseshoe tournaments and great food (don’t miss the pig roast!) during the three day event. The fair team can’t wait to welcome guests back in 2021!

Kids always enjoy the “Little Hands” children’s area. This free activity simplifies the world of farming into fun tasks. Pick apples, collect eggs, pedal a tractor, chop a tree… then take your basket of goods to the farmers’ market and “sell” them for a prize in exchange for all the hard work!
Beautiful displays of handiwork welcome you to the exhibition hall. Baked goods, special exhibits and a quilt contest are annual favorites!