When the leaves begin to turn the famous hues of fall, there is a nip in the air and the farmer’s fields are cleared for the fall harvest it must be time for the Fayuh as we say it in these here parts. What is a “Fayuh” you ask? It’s an old-fashioned country fair with rides, livestock exhibitions, competitions of all kinds and of course row after row of fair food.
The Fryeburg Fair, Maine’s Blue Ribbon Classic considered to be one of the best agricultural fairs in the U.S, takes place just across the Maine-New Hampshire border from the Stonehurst Manor. First held in 1885, this event is attended by 300,000 people annually. This is a day of fun with something for everyone. The original fairgrounds which covered 26 acres has now grown to 180 acres with 100 permanent buildings.
The Fair is an opportunity for local farmers to showcase the best of their crops, animals, and recipes, and artisans to display their crafts with hopes of leaving with a blue ribbon. Local churches have permanent food concessions to raise funds and two scholarships are awarded to seniors pursuing further education in the fields of agriculture, forestry or earth sciences.
Admission is “Pay One Price” which also includes access to the demos, midway shows and on select days to all mechanical rides. You’ll definitely find old-fashioned activities on the calendar including a Pig Scramble, Skillet Throw, Anvil Throw, Fiber Show, Firemen’s Muster, and Woodsmen’s competitions. Woodsmen’s Day, one of the more popular days at the fair, is always the first Monday. Men and women from all over the U.S. compete in over 27 wood-related events which include tree felling, axe throw, crosscut, standing block and more. But that’s not all. There are tractor pulls, harness racing, chef’s cooking demos, flower shows, wreathmaking demos, and much more. Visit the Fryeburg Fair website for complete details and schedule of events.
And then there is the food. Everyone that has been to a “Fayuh” has their favorite. There seems to be an unwritten rule that you have to make time at the Fair to eat food you don’t eat every day. Many of the same vendors return every year to the same location on the grounds. You’ll find sweets of every kind from homemade blueberry crisp with ice cream to maple cotton candy and almost everything imaginable fried. Burgers, BBQ, sausages and fried seafood are all available in addition to full dinners. Definitely something to tempt and please every palate.
Be sure to include a day at the Fair during your early October visit to the White Mountains. The Fryeburg Fairgrounds are just a half hour drive from the Manor with no traffic, but plan on it taking a bit longer. Don’t overdo it! Be sure to save room for your dinner at the Stonehurst Manor’s Wild Rose Restaurant at the end of your day at the “Fayuh”.