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Presque Isle: The Star City

Northern Maine Fair Memories

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Text by Krystal, a student at Presque Isle Middle School
Images from the Presque Isle Historical Society by Dr. Richard Graves III

The Northern Maine Fair existed about seventy years before my grandmother was born and still exists today. When she was young, the Fair was three days long. There was Children’s Day, the Big Day, and the Last Day. Now the Fair is nine days. The Fair has and will always be one of Presque Isle’s favorite entertainments for old and young people.

Northern Maine Fair
Northern Maine FairPresque Isle Historical Society

Dorothy, some times known as Dot, has lived in Maine and has been involved with the Northern Maine Fair all her life. She said that her parents would always make sure that her family of seven bothers and sisters would go on Children’s Day and the Big Day. Her father and her whole family went in the car to the fair, which was about four miles from her house in the country.

Dorothy got involved with harness racing because her husband John enjoyed watching the races. Her son, Jimmy one of her five children, started racing in the early 1980’s. Dorothy worked at the racing office about the same time. Dorothy thinks one thing that has changed about harness racing is racers need to go faster to even qualify to race. Dot, also thinks the betting has dropped.

The attendance of the Fair has dropped because at the time when the Northern Maine Fair was in full swing, it was the main attraction in the area. All the families went. Dot said that now there are so many other things families can do that the Northern Maine Fair is not that important to them anymore.

Her favorite and only ride that she would go on was the Ferris Wheel because the other rides were too fast and would make her sick. The fair food has changed a lot. When she was young they had hamburgers, hotdogs, and soups. Now there is pizza and baked potatoes. Her favorite fair food would be a hotdog.