Union Fair ends harness racing tradition

Fri, 05/26/2023 - 2:15pm

    UNION — Harness racing has been a staple at the Union Fair for 120 years.  Beginning in 1902, horse racing became a feature of the Union Fair’s program and was a main draw for patrons for decades.  However, as times change and generations pass, harness racing in Maine has become less and less popular, according to Matt Elwell, Union Fair president.

    The costs to host and produce harness racing have increased substantially over the past several years and has finally reached a point where it is no longer financially sustainable for the fair. 

    “Unfortunately, based on several factors, some of which are beyond our control, the Union Fair Executive Committee has made the tough decision to end harness racing effective immediately,” said Elwell. “We realize many people will miss the sights and sounds that come along with horses racing around the half-mile track and we will certainly miss it, too.  And though times may change, the Union Fair has always been, and will continue to be committed to supporting and promoting Maine agriculture through our programs, exhibits, and competitions.”

    The Friends of the Union Fair Society will contact those people and organizations that made generous contributions to the Racetrack Rescue Fund.