BROCKTON — The annual start to summer in Brockton got under way as thousands of people spent a steamy Thursday night at the Brockton Fair.
The main draw Thursday was the demolition derby, but there were various musical acts as well as the swine show, a nod to the fair’s roots as an agricultural event begun in 1874.
“We love the demolition derby, and the 4-H (agricultural) area, and all the stuff we’re not normally exposed to,” said Janice Rainey of Brockton, a fair regular for nearly 30 years.
In addition to the animal petting areas, rides, fried dough and cold beer stands, this year’s edition of the Brockton Fair featured dozens of Church of Scientology ministry volunteers clad in yellow T-shirts.
“I grew up in Brockton,” said Lorraine Baritz, a Scientology ministry volunteer who was part of the ministry “cavalcade” making its debut at the Brockton Fair this year.
“We have a message — that something can be done about it, and that’s why we’re at the fair,” said Baritz, who now lives in Canton. Her husband, Dr. Robert Baritz, runs an chiropractor office on Pleasant Street in Brockton.
The Rev. Robert W. Castagna, community outreach coordinator for the Church of Scientology in Boston, said the ministry in Brockton is an attempt to help the city deal with its street violence problems.
“We offer solutions to the various problems that underlie the violence,” he said.
The Volunteer Ministry cavalcade is under a yellow tent on the Belmont Street side of the fair.
Castagna describes Scientology as an applied religious philosophy that’s non-denominational that helps people gain spiritual awareness.
“We offer practical solutions to problems like drug addiction and illiteracy,” Castagna said.
Scientology got its start from the works of science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in the 1970s.
Meanwhile, this year’s fair features all the usual rides, food and games.
“The rides and stuff” is what 13-year-old Danielle Wedge of Plymouth likes about the fair.
Her cousin, Holly Wedge, who is visiting from Florida for a few weeks, said she enjoyed listening to the clown in the dunk tank as the two girls ate ice cream nearby.
“He’s making fun of everybody,” she said.
Police reported nothing out of the ordinary for the first night of the two-week summer carnival, as the night was quiet and slow without the fireworks.
The pyrotechnics shows start tonight at 10:30 p.m. Fireworks shows are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday and next week on Friday and Sunday, the last night of the fair.
“We’ll definitely be here for the fireworks. That’s my favorite,” said Janice Rainey. “I love the fair, especially the fireworks.”