This year, more than $230,000 has been spent on projects and improvements.

FRYEBURG – Roy Andrews beams proudly when he looks out over the gleaming Fryeburg Fair grounds ready for the Sept. 28 opening.

After a summer of building, paving, painting and sprucing up, everything is ready for Maine’s Blue Ribbon Classic to start its eight-day run to close out the Maine fair season.

For Andrews, overseeing the building and maintenance of the more than 100 buildings and 180 acres for the past three decades has been more than a job. It has been a labor of love.

He has planned and supervised much of the new construction from the spacious 4-H building to the Crafts Center and the Forest Resource Center to last year’s new Sugarhouse.

This year, more than $230,000 has been spent on projects, including a new information booth attached to the front of Expo I, an addition to the Agricultural Exposition Building, a 12- by 20-foot expansion of Emily’s Restaurant and an upgrade to the 4-H hall.

While there has been a lot of construction over the summer, much of this year’s effort has gone into the fair’s infrastructure. Thousands of dollars have been spent on improvements such as additional steel safety gates, grandstand and restroom improvements, more flower gardens and additional concrete manure bunkers.

“We have more than 4,000 animals here during fair week and that means we have a lot of material to deal with,” said Andrews, general superintendent of the fair since the early ’90s. “We’re trying to handle it in the most efficient manner possible.”

Electrical and water upgrades accounted for $30,000 while additional black top totaled $50,000. There’s a new sound system in the pulling ring and the ventilation has been substantially improved in the hog barn.

Lights were added to the midway, storm drainage upgraded and more signs posted to aid fairgoers trying to navigate the grounds.

Up front by the main gate, the 130-foot porch roof over the Secretary’s Office, Midway Office, Security and First Aid has been widened to 10 feet.

Several of the nearly century-old pine trees have either been pruned or removed from the grounds to increase safety. Throughout the parking areas, many of the planted trees have been relocated to make room for campers and RVs.

The camping office reports that all 3,000 campsites have been filled since spring. Camping Supt. Glenn Chute has had the same response all summer to people calling about space.

“We’re swamped! We’re telling them that there’s no chance they can get in,” Chute said. “We have more reservations now than we can possibly fill.”

Now the trick is to fit campers into their assigned space.

Whether it’s above ground with new transformers and high tension lines, below ground with water lines and storm drains or on the ground with new buildings, pavement or concrete, Roy Andrews has been involved.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.