Fair History

Harness Racing

The Northern Maine Fair has a strong fair history and was incorporated July 16, 1850. The first exhibition was held October 9, 1851.

During the first thirty years of the organization of the fair they had no land, property, buildings, stable or pens for cattle, exhibition building, nor officers quarters.

Early in the history of the society it was voted to make Presque Isle the permanent location of the fair because it gave the society a permanent home in a central location and because it saved this land and park from being laid out in house lots and sold.

From 1890 through the years the prosperity of the Northern Maine Fair kept pace with the growth and increased wealth of the county. New and enlarged buildings were made, more and larger premiums were offered, larger attendance and patronage came as the prosperity, which has made Aroostook noted for its production and wealth have combined in making the Northern Maine Fair the best in the state.

For many years through the 1900’s the fair was held the first week in September and was for three days. Later this was changed to a full week of activities and now it is held the first week in August.

The Northern Maine Fair has been held once each year since its early beginning except during the Second World War when the United States Government had the grounds leased for housing purposes.

On June 1, 1949 the large grandstand was burned but before the ashes were cold the directors were planning for another one. It was built and ready for the “Fair”, that year.

George Allen
General Manager 1976-1992

Many changes have taken place during the past 108 years but each change has been to make the fair “Bigger – Better – Best.”

The highest interest in “the Fair” came in the 1920’s when the local Mooseleuk Club had purchased the famous race horse, John R. Braden. Groups from Caribou and Houlton had purchased competitive horses and the interest was keen and stimulating. Fair attendance of 50,000 a day was recorded for those meets.

John R. Braden

After 150 years, the fair is still growing and is stronger than ever.