Exciting Changes and Additions at the Northern Maine Fair 2022
Talking with Lynwood Winslow & Rick Guerrette
There are some exciting plans and some big changes at the Northern Maine Fair, August 4 - August 7, 2022. We talked to Lynwood Winslow, President of the Fair and Rick Guerrette, the Vice President of the Fair. They told us about some of the changes at the horse track and harness racing, the rides and midway, new features, traditional events, live entertainment, and of course, fair food.
“There will be no more horse racing at the Northern Maine Fair. We’re taking turns 1 and 2 and we’re taking the fence down and we’re going to level that. A quarter of the track will be gone. That will get leveled off and it will be like three times as wide as it is now. That’s permanent,” said Guerrette.
Lynwood Winslow said the Northern Maine Fair association did everything they could to keep harness racing at the fair. “It’s the end of a tradition that we all love and want to keep, and know it meant a lot to this community for 150 years. We tried everything to make that work and just couldn’t.”
Reasons for the Horse Track Changes
There are many reasons for the change, said Winslow, “The decline in people betting, the decline of young people involved in the industry, and incredible increase in expenses. COVID sped up a declining number of horsemen in the state that was already on the decline before COVID.”
Renovations to Turns 1 and 2
The renovations and leveling of turns 1 and 2 will create a lot more space. Winslow added, “In the short term, we want to make that strip wider between the livestock area and our food court and the grandstand. We feel it’s a much better area to grow our equipment displays, to grow our food and gaming areas, and tie the fair together.”
The renovations are also focused on improving other events and exhibits at the fair. “We needed to make some general improvements to our infield for better spectator viewing and for pit areas during our events, '' said Winslow. “We want to make the main thoroughfare of our fair between the livestock area and the grandstand a commercial exhibition area.”
Rides and Midway
Guerrette said, “No rides. No midway this year. We’re so far away that it’s not feasible for them to come up our way. It’s an agricultural fair. We have more family things to do.”
The cost and scheduling are key when working with carnivals, said Winslow. “The carnival companies are just not available to come here. We’re at the end of the road. It’s the fuel costs and the labor costs. They need two weekends. We can’t sustain a two weekend fair. There are only a handful of carnivals in Maine that are licensed for Mane.”
Rides are Possible + Kids Games
There are plans being looked at to bring some rides and games to the fair. Winslow said it’s only March and the fair is in August. “We’re looking at trying to get a ride or two, but we haven’t been able to find them yet. We set up 10 kids games last year. We’re going to improve those, and offer a lot more games for kids.”
George Allen Arena Moving Close to Grandstand
One of the other things happening at the fairgrounds is moving the George Allen Arena closer to the grandstand. “We’re moving to the George Allen Arena right behind the grandstand. We got new fencing going around it and bleachers and stuff like that. They always had a good show there, but it was so far away. That should be a big improvement.”
Demolition Derby and Tractor Pulls
Guerrette said the demolition derby is going to be closer to the grandstand so people can see it better. Also, the tractor pull will run north to south on the track.
Lil’ Lumberjacks at the Fair
There’s a new feature that will be a part of the Northern Maine Fair for a long time. “We started another new project called Lil’ Lumberjacks. There will be some stuff there this year,” said Gurrette.
“Lil’ Lumberjacks is going to build on our mission to try to educate people on our industries, explained Winslow. “We want kids in this area and adults to be excited about the forestry industry and to learn about it at an elementary level where it makes sense and it’s fun. We have the perfect venue and we have the perfect mix of industry players who are willing to support it.”
BINGO, Monster Truck and Transformers
There are some other activities and events that people are looking forward to, said Guerrette, “We're going to try to bring BINGO back. We didn’t have it last year. We got monster truck rides for two nights this year. That’s free. The Transformers are coming back for the whole four days.”
Rods, Rides and Relics
“The car show will be bigger and better than ever.” said Guerrette.
In the Forum
Rods, Rides and Relics takes place in the Forum and is billed as New England’s Largest Indoor Transportation Show.
“John Rinell from Florida will be performing. He’s been up there the last three or four years. He’ll be there the whole time.” There will be many more acts performing as well. There will be many more acts performing as well including local favorites. Winslow confirmed that “The Star City Syndicate is opening the fair on Thursday night.”
Guerrette said fair food will be what people have come to really look forward to. “We’re going to have a few more fair food vendors this year. Most everyone will be back.”
“It looks like all the same vendors will be back. We’re going to add a few more, said Winslow. ”There will be fair pizza and we’re working on a couple more. We know we have to have more food. We are excited about that.”
More Northern Maine Fair Info
“We’ll see you at the Fair.”