June 3, 1851: Ten towns incorporate the West Oxford Agricultural Society and establish an annual exhibition. They hold their first fair Oct. 23 in Hiram.

The event moves from town to town in its initial years but eventually settles permanently in the town of Fryeburg and becomes known as the Fryeburg Fair. It starts out at one site in 1858, then moves to its current location to accommodate growth on Oct. 4, 1885.

In modern times the fair lasts eight days on fairgrounds that include about 100 buildings on more than 180 acres.

Sixteen towns in Maine and six in New Hampshire collaborate to put on the fair. The fair hosts more than 3,000 animals, including draft horses, ponies, race horses, oxen, dairy and beef cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry and rabbits. It employs about 600 people annually.

The Fryeburg Fair is held in the first week of October, and is the capstone event of the Maine fair season, which stretches from summer into fall and includes numerous weeklong fairs such as those in Blue Hill, Bangor and Skowhegan.

Presented by:

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com.  Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]


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