UNION — The 2022 Union Fair and Maine Wild Blueberry Festival opens Wednesday, July 27, with a new format, earlier dates and more activities than ever.

“We have a lot of new things to see and do and are super excited for the fair,” said Union Fair President Matthew Elwell.

One significant change is the fair’s new partnership with Smokey’s Greater Shows.

“The midway is packed with rides,” he said. “Every square inch of space is being used.” These rides include both classic favorites and new rides to try, plus more rides available for children as young as two.

Elwell said he was very excited about working with Smokey’s Greater Shows, which is a Maine-based carnival company and is owned by a woman. “Together we are working to make this more family friendly for all ages,” he said.

Though the fair is fewer days this year than in past years, Elwell said the trustees did not cut many activities. Instead, he said they tried to take eight days of events and put them together. “There should be something that peaks everyone’s interest,” he said.

The fair has added more children’s events this year as well, including the Moose Maine-iah Monster Truck, which had to cancel their appearance at the Union Fair in 2021. Monster truck rides go from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, and are free with the price of admission.

There are also additional motor vehicle events instead of two demolition derbies. Saturday night starting at 7 p.m. is the figure eight competition, where several cars race each other.

Then Sunday, July 31, is the children’s demolition derby with power wheels at 6 p.m. for ages 4 to 8, and the adult demolition derby at 7 p.m.

Sign up for these events is earlier on the same day. Participants bring their own vehicles.

The fair also includes new commercial and food vendors, and new entertainment throughout each day and night. Of course, the fair will also feature the usual agricultural offerings and events, as well.

“I think we have put together quite the fair this year,” Elwell said. He added he is really proud of the hard work, time and enthusiasm of the trustees and volunteers.

If people have not been to the fair in a couple years, Elwell said they will be pleasantly surprised at how it has grown and improved.

General admission to the Union Fair is $20, which includes all rides. Early Bird special admission is available before noon for $10, and does not include rides.

The fair begins Wednesday, July 27. There is an opening ceremony at noon. Wednesday is also “Moxie Day.” Events include a Moxie chugging contest and fireworks.

Thursday, July 28, is senior citizens and veterans day. Any veteran with a military ID can enter free of charge. A special program to honor veterans is scheduled for noon. Thursday is also the return of the tractor pull.

Friday, July 29, is the Wild Blueberry Festival, with free blueberry desserts available beginning at 11 a.m. The Blueberry Queen competition will also take place this day. Candidate interviews begin at noon, and the coronation is at 7 p.m. Also on Friday is lawn mower drag racing at 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 30, is children’s day. Events include monster truck rides starting at 11 a.m., children’s pedal tractor pull and the figure eight competition.

Sunday, July 31, is demolition derby day for both children and adults, beginning at 6 p.m.

For more information on the Union Fair, including a full schedule of events, visit unionfair.org.