NORWAY – The Fryeburg Fair was a big success, fair officials said, even though heavy rain kept many potential fair-goers at home last weekend.

“We had six good days; overall, we had a great fair,” Roy Andrews, general superintendent, said Tuesday. “We share the weather with everybody.”

The soaking rain that hammered much of the region last weekend hurt attendance both days. Daily paid attendance on Saturday was 9,588, compared with 40,144 on the same day last year.

The weather forced the cancellation Saturday of the Grand Parade and harness racing. “Canceling the parade is very unusual,” Andrews said. “That was only the second time we did that.”

Daily paid attendance on Sunday was 11,418 versus 24,556 last year.

Last year’s fair enjoyed eight straight days of good weather. Daily paid attendance this year totaled 144,317; last year it reached 199,266.

Thanks in part to pleasant, sunny weather during the week, daily paid attendance was higher on some days this year versus last year, including Tuesday and Wednesday. About 2,000 more people paid to attend on Tuesday, and paid attendance was nearly 3,000 higher on Wednesday.

Andrews said the fair’s new livestock arena, a $500,000 project that began operating this year, helped boost the fair’s overall appeal and success.

“We had an exceptional bunch of livestock shows and a new building that is a much better place to show them. Presentation is a big deal when you’re showing any livestock,” he said.

This week, of course, will entail all the cleanup, and officials already are thinking about preparations and programs for next year. “Everyone is breaking down now; it’s quite a mess here. Having everything wet doesn’t help,” Andrews said. “We did well, and now we’ll start thinking about our programs for next year. There are always plenty of good ideas.”


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