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Most times, Fryeburg, Maine, is a quiet little western Maine town, tucked beside the Saco River and home to Fryeburg Academy, one of the oldest private boarding and day schools in America.

And then they arrive.

Who? The fairgoers.

Things to Do in Fryeburg

That’s right. Every autumn, tens of thousands of people head to little Fryeburg, all in search of cotton candy or Ferris wheel rides or big vegetables to gawk at. Since 1851, Fryeburg has hosted the Fryeburg Fair, which has ballooned into the biggest, most popular autumn agricultural fair in the state. How big? Upwards of 300,000 people attend each year. The Fryeburg fairgrounds campground has, by itself, 3,000 spots.

What brings them is the fun. The fair is a classic, with everything from tractor pulls and evening concerts and sheep dog trials to folks throwing skillets and anvils for distance. For many families throughout New England, it’s an annual treat.

There’s also plenty to do when it’s not fair season. The Saco River, which meanders through town, is a slow and gentle friend here. On warm summer days, you can rent a canoe, kayak or even an inner tube and glide down the river to nearby towns. Check with the Saco River Recreational Council for river and weather conditions. Outfitters such as Saco River Canoe & Kayak, Inc. will rent you the equipment you need for an afternoon or more on the river. You can also rent ATVs and snowmobiles in Fryeburg for adventures on land.

The foothills area is speckled with nice walks and hikes. A favorite is up Jockey Cap, a short, moderate climb on what used to be a tiny ski area in town. Your reward is not just a nice outing, but great views of the town and the White Mountains beyond.

Music lovers can take a short drive sixteen miles through the foothills to the town of Brownfield and enjoy a wonderful slate of concerts and performances at the intimate Stone Mountain Arts Center. The brainchild of musician Carol Noonan, the 200-seat hall draws such top-drawer talent as Los Lobos, Richard Thompson, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Leo Kottke.

Restaurants in Fryeburg

Looking for Fryeburg restaurants? Consider 302 West Smokehouse and Tavern, The Oxford House Inn, D's Pizza, the Fryeburg House of Pizza and these other suggestions.

Where to Stay in Fryeburg

Considering Fryeburg hotels or other places to stay? Check out the Admiral Peary Inn Bed & Breakfast, The White Gables Inn, The Oxford House Inn, and just down the Saco River in Brownfield, Woodland Acres Campgrounds. For more suggestions, scroll down our list of regional businesses below.

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