Prentiss couple becomes youngest fair owners in Maine
Ashley LaDuke and Dustin Gordon bought the Springfield Fair earlier this year.
SPRINGFIELD, Maine (WABI) - One of Maine’s oldest running agricultural fairs is under new ownership.
The Springfield Fair will return with not only new owners but new dates and a carnival.
Since 1850, the town of Springfield and beyond has come together for an award-winning agricultural fair.
The Springfield Fair holds many memories for people, including new owners, Ashley LaDuke, and her fiancé Dustin Gordon.
Gordon, 26, and LaDuke, 23, purchased the fairgrounds earlier this year after shadowing the previous owners in 2022.
Part of the 16-acre property is used for their business ‘Up in Smoke Auto Recycling.’
At first, it was their intention to use the property strictly for business.
But, LaDuke says she’s a dreamer, and she could not get rid of a community staple.
“We have the perfect venue with huge grandstands and a nice stage,” she said. “If we’re going to follow through with this, then we have to keep the fair going. The recycling business is my fiancé's gig, and the fair will be my gig.”
The couple will kick off summer break with the Springfield Fair on June 15th.
“We’re still going to have the same fair. I’m working on getting the same events and activities,” she said.
Before moving to Maine at the age of 12, LaDuke participated in 4H programs and was a barrel racer at county fairs in New York.
She hopes to pass on her love of animals and agriculture to the next generation.
“One of the things I’m working on is finding sheep so we can do mutton busting events,” LaDuke said. They used to have that in 2017 when they had a carnival as well, and that was a very cool kids’ event that kids enjoyed, just like the pig scramble. The previous owners brought that back last year, per my request, so I’ve got more piglets this year so more kids can participate in them.”
Taking over the fairgrounds has certainly come with its challenges, but the couple says they are proud to carry on this tradition, and they are grateful for the community’s support.
“We’re trying our best, and I think the community sees that, and they’ve really encouraged us,” said LaDuke.
The Springfield Fair will run June 15th through the 18th.
And mark your calendars for their ‘Memorial Mayhem’ event.
Whey Jennings, grandson of country legend, Waylon Jennings’, will be performing Saturday May 27th.
Copyright 2023 WABI. All rights reserved.