Visitors to the 158th Fryeburg Fair that opens Sunday, will find enhanced parking, a new walk-in gate from the Swans Falls side of the grounds and expanded animal displays among the improvements made to the historic fairgrounds.

The purchase and clearing of 5 acres along Route 5 on the south side of the grounds made way for premium parking for about 300 vehicles as well as the addition of 30 camping sites.

“It has made a big difference in the looks of the fair,” said President Roy Andrews. “In developing the new area over the summer, we tried very hard to make it village friendly. I’m quite pleased with it.”

Access to the premium parking is accessible off Swans Falls Road near the Livestock gate. A second ticket booth has been added to allow pedestrians to enter away from the flow of vehicle traffic.

This summer’s inclement weather has made construction difficult for the 18-member crew.

“We were three weeks late getting started in the spring because of the rain,” Andrews said. “We feel lucky that we got as much done as we did with the weather we had.”

The popular goat area has been expanded into an adjacent steer barn, which will allow for more animals and a place for milking the goats. The steer and oxen displaced by the change have been moved to Draft Horse Barn No. 1 while the pulling horses formerly housed there have been moved to an expansion of Draft Horse Barn No. 5 that added 34 stalls.

“At 210 feet, that’s a pretty good-sized barn,” Andrews said of the building near the pulling horse exercise area.

The bathroom built in 1995 in the Old McDonald’s Farm Park has been modernized. It features a mother’s lounge for nursing mothers and two family unisex bathrooms.

Other additions include a pari-mutuel window at the west end of Race Horse Park near the paddock, an addition to the Rabbit Barn for an educational area, remodeling of the infield restroom with a new pitched roof, a fire tower adjacent to the Natural Resource Center and $30,000 worth of paving. Trees have been removed from the back parking area and additional lighting has been added to make it safer at night.

“We think we’re going to have a pretty good fair this year,” Andrews said.

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