PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The common half-mile oval at the Northern Maine Fairgrounds will shortly glance fairly diverse as harness racing fades into the previous and portion of the keep track of area is applied for other functions.
Northern Maine Reasonable Association officers lately stated this summer’s fair will be held from Thursday, Aug. 4, by way of Sunday, Aug. 7.
As soon as a staple of the nearby reasonable, harness racing in Presque Isle is formally off the roster, in accordance to the Maine Harness Racing Fee. That leaves the Bangor Raceway as the closest keep track of to Aroostook County.
“It’s far too bad. We hate to see it go, but situations transform,” Northern Maine Reasonable Association Vice President Rick Guerrette claimed Friday. “We’ve acquired to go on and do some thing distinctive.”
Racing has drawn really number of individuals — and horses — in new decades, and seeking to continue to keep it likely has not been profitable, Guerrette explained. The truthful was not held in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there was no racing previous year since the reasonable switched from a weeklong celebration to a 4-working day format focusing on agriculture.
The racetrack will see modifications come spring, when crews will clear away convert a single and transform two — the portion of the observe closest to Mechanic Street — and widen the spot out. At some point, the affiliation would like to assemble a creating there that could seat 300-400 people today, he stated, though that is sometime in the potential.
Improvements are on faucet for the demolition derby and tractor pulling place at the front of the grandstand, as very well as fences about the assets, Guerrette reported.
The association strategies to shift the George Allen Memorial Horse Pulling Arena, now situated at the farthest conclude of the fairgrounds, to a website guiding the grandstand, upgrading it and giving it far more visibility.
Work will begin early this spring on the observe region.
Reasonable Association President Lynwood Winslow was unavailable Friday.
Presque Isle has a storied background when it will come to horse racing. The city’s most famous racehorse was John R. Braden, a harness racing horse ordered in the 1920s by a team of local guys who identified as on their own the Mooseleuk Club.
Pushed by John Willard, Braden set information for his wins and racing periods and was even invited to a banquet in his honor at what is now the Northeastland Resort. Braden Street and the neighborhood Braden Theater still have his name. His continues to be are truly buried at the fairgrounds.
The horse and his competition spurred an interest in nearby harness racing that drew 50,000 people today a day to the races, in accordance to the Northern Maine Reasonable website.