FRYEBURG – After 52 years of dedication to Fryeburg Fair, David R. Hastings II has retired.

The longtime Finance Committee member stepped down after four years as president and a lifetime of devotion to Fryeburg Fair. The Fryeburg attorney handed his gavel to newly elected President Roy Andrews after his unanimous election at the annual December trustees meeting of the West Oxford Agricultural Society, which sponsors the 156-year-old fair.

Hastings, 82, was elected president in December 2002 shortly after the death of Philip G. Andrews of Fryeburg. Hastings can trace his roots back to David R. Hastings, a Lovell attorney who served as vice president on the fair’s founding board in 1851.

“I’ve had a great deal of fun serving the fair,” Hastings told fellow trustees. “We’ve had some wonderful times as we watched the fair grow to the event it is today.” He recalled the paid attendance hit 50,000 in 1976 and exceeded 200,000 a quarter century later.

Hastings began as secretary in 1954. He was elected to the three-member Finance Committee in 1961, joining Phil Andrews and John Weston. There have been few changes in the governing committee’s makeup in the past half century. Weston died in 1973 and Eugene Hussey was elected to his spot. Hussey continued to serve until his death in 2006.

Member Ted Raymond was elected to the committee when Phil Andrews was elected president in 1991 and Hastings’ son, David Hastings III, was elected in 2002 when his father was elected first vice president.

Hastings presided as the fair grew from a “pretty good fair,” as Phil Andrews used to call it, to Maine’s largest and one of the best on the eastern seaboard.

During his tenure he announced the Grand Parade on Saturday as well as each of the four pig scrambles. He was a founder of the 40-year-old Woodsmen’s Field Day and instrumental in engineering the fair’s expansion from 40 to 180 acres.

He oversaw development of livestock exhibits including goats, hogs, poultry, llamas and alpacas. The growth of departments and displays expanded to include the Farm Museum, Crafts Center, Little Red School House, horse-drawn wagons and the Fiber Center. Competitions including the women’s skillet throw, Christmas tree and wreath contest and tractor and four-wheel-drive pulls were added.

His successor is no stranger to fair operations. Roy Andrews’ 40-year involvement began with the parade, a job he still holds. He was superintendent of buildings and grounds during the construction and renovation heyday of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. For the past decade, he has been general superintendent in charge of overall operations for the Finance Committee.

The 68-year-old Fryeburg resident becomes only the sixth man to hold that post since 1928.

Roy’s father Phil, a Finance Committee member for more than four decades, was elected president in 1991 when Francis Buzzell’s health forced him to step down. Buzzell had been elected to the post in 1989 after the death of Earl Osgood, who had served as president for 28 years. Osgood succeeded Conway, N.H.,’s J. Howard Woodward, for whom Woodward Pavilion is named. Woodward was elected a trustee in 1904, the first year New Hampshire residents were admitted to the society. He was named vice president in 1922 and president in 1928, a post he held until his death 38 years later.

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