10/19/2017 2:58PM

Macedonio: Sheer enjoyment at the Fryeburg Fair

Jay Burns
Ryan Macedonio leads the field around the far turn at the Fryeburg Fair.

Every so often a reminder is needed for us all . . . to simply remember why we are involved in Harness Racing to begin with. We need a moment to bring back the fun and rekindle the flame of love and passion that we have for this sport.

About 6 years ago, I took a trip to Plainridge with a few horses and spent the day racing on a Labor Day program. Away from everyone I knew, at a place I’d never been to, and it was one of my favorite days in my life! No special reason either . . . just that it was nice to go to a place that people treated others like family. I’ll cut that short, but you get the idea. Fast forward to this past weekend and I ventured up to Fryeburg, Maine for their Blue Ribbon Fair. What an experience!

Truly, it was nice to be around a lot of people who simply loved harness racing and even more, loved Maine! Most of the people I met had the resources to travel elsewhere, some had, but they all came back. It made me ask myself why? The fair itself is absolutely enormous. Roughly 3,000 square miles in Fairground! Ok, that may be an over exaggeration, but it is huge. You can’t cover everything in a day, or two, or even three. I was there four days and still really didn’t get a full feel for all of the shows, attractions, food, and entertainment that were offered. It wasn’t exactly easy to wander either because it was jam packed with people.

I came out of retirement to drive in the Fryeburg Futurity and even though I finished second, it was a race of a lifetime for me. The grandstand was full, the apron was full and all around the track was full . . . all cheering . . . for me? Ok, maybe not, but it was still awesome to hear the crowd while I was racing. I hit the top of the stretch on the lead and I could hear the roar of the crowd. As I crossed the finish line in second, I looked over and just took a moment to take it all in because it really was an amazing experience. I bet I raced in front of more people on Saturday than most drivers will the entire year combined at most slot-fueled racetracks. 

All in all, my three trips to New England have left me a reenergized feeling of why I love Harness Racing. I’m not going to waste my time trying to figure out exactly what I liked, or what specific detail I will remember. I just liked the feeling when I was there and I residue from the experience.

There isn’t a signature race or signature event that will attract anyone to the Fryeburg Fair, but that’s ok, it’s not needed. It’s an entire attraction! Most of us in the business will never get the chance to go to Lexington, but I’m pretty sure that Fryeburg is the next best thing to visit in the first week of October.

Find your spots to let go and really enjoy Harness Racing for what it can be and why we all love it.