Fair Association takes top honor

Kathy McCarty, Special to The County
17 years ago

 PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – The Northern Maine Fair Association received a national honor with the recent presentation of the 2007 United States Fair Association’s Blue Ribbon Fair Award.

The ceremony was held August 1 on the track in front of the grandstand, with USDA Director Ronald Ralph presenting the award to NMFA President Lynwood Winslow. The honor was bestowed based on the facility’s long history with harness racing and how the fair presents itself.
“The United States Trotting Association presents three awards annually,” said Ralph.
Fairs in Maine considered for the honor include sites from Fryeburg to Presque Isle, according to Ralph.
“Fairs belong to different districts. District 9 takes up all of New England,” said Ralph. “We’re quite lucky to be able to win this for Maine.”
Dana Swett, a longtime NMFA Board member, was instrumental in getting the NMFA recognized.
“I wrote a letter nominating the NMFA. I’ve been with the Association for 58 years and felt it deserved the recognition,” said Swett.
Director of Racing Norm Trask said it was, “an evolving process,” one made possible through the hard work and dedication of many people.
Winslow indicated the award was a wonderful surprise.
“This is a tremendous honor. Norm and his crew do a great job putting this (harness racing program) together,” said Winslow.
Few fairs receive such an honor, according to Winslow, adding it is truly a shared award, since many people are involved in making the annual fair a success.
“It takes a lot of history” to put a fair together, said Winslow.
This year’s event, according to Winslow, was better than expected, thanks to good weather and great public turnout.
“The gate was up around 30 percent or more over last year at this time,” said Winslow on Wednesday, August 1. “This is probably the best year in five or six years. Northern Maine supports us. We owe them for their support.”
Musical events, displays, a car show, demolition derby, contests, harness racing, rides and more kept visitors busy this year.
But harness racing is one of the things people remember most about the fair, according to Winslow.
“Something as old as harness racing – several decades – people come back year after year to watch. This award just emphasizes what a great facility we have here,” said Winslow.