FRYEBURG — What does a retired superintendent of schools do with his time?

Park cars of course.

“I’m trying to maximize my real estate,” said George Cunningham, SAD 72 superintendent from 1993 to 2005.

Cunningham is one of the fortunate, or unfortunate landowners depending on who you talk to, who lives within walking distance of the Fryeburg Fairgrounds on Route 5. He has about five acres of barren land and has been been working the Fryeburg Fair crowd for the past seven or eight years.

With land available, cars that need spaces to park, and a desire to help a local Boy Scout troop, Cunningham decided to split the parking proceeds with Troop 155 in Fryeburg. Scouts and their leaders come to the fair to help out, but Cunningham takes control of the actual parking.

Cunningham says he can make as much as $5,000 in a good week parking about 130 cars. “It’s very weather dependent,” he said.

The proceeds also depend on his ability to put as many cars into the five acres as he can.

“I lost a lot of space because those people parked themselves,” he said while looking at a few cars that parked haphazardly.

Cunningham is one of dozens of people along Routes 302 and its side streets who open up their yards and back lots to the thousands of motorists who descend on the fair each October.

Competition is fierce as people stand on the edge of their lots waving flags to entice motorists to park in their spots. Some landowners advertise bottled water for sale and Porta Potties.

Cunningham has neither but like most others charges $5, a discount to parking on the fair grounds.

“Sometimes it gets rough,” he says good-naturedly of the competition.

Across the street his nearest competitor is working hard to get motorists into his lot.

“I just wave harder and smile,” said Lincoln Newton of Brownfield, who works his boss’ land each year during the fair.

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