Cumberland, the county’s namesake, is located in close
proximity to Portland and extends inland, bordering Windham to Cumberland Foreside,
which stretches to Casco Bay. Though only three working farms remain today,
Cumberland’s history as an agricultural town with a strong shipbuilding
connection is evident. Its historic homes can be found as part of occasional
Historical Homes tours, along with the charming one-room schoolhouse dating
from 1853, which today serves as a meeting place and museum.
Cumberland is known for its top-tier recreation facilities,
including the Val Halla Golf and Recreation Center, the Twin Brook Recreation
Area and the Cumberland Fairgrounds, in addition to miles of trails maintained
by the town for public use. Town residents uphold a strong community, where
concert series liven up the high school lawn in the summer, and Little League
teams play at the local ballfield.
A True County Fair
Since 1868, the Cumberland Fairgrounds on Blanchard Road has
been home to the Cumberland Fair during the last week in September each year. One
of the state’s largest agricultural fairs, it began when farmers would present
their biggest and best-tasting vegetables, men with working steers showed off
the strength of their animals at the ox pulling contest, and local horsemen
raced their finest steeds. Today, The Cumberland Fair remains a true county
fair and features harness racing, livestock and agriculture competitions,
horticultural exhibits, pumpkin contests, and plenty of food.
Harness Racing program is one of the core attractions of the Cumberland County
Fair, and has been ongoing since 1871, when farmer races took place down the
town’s Main Street. Today, harness racing, in which horses pull two-wheeled
carts equipped with bicycle wheels, takes place on a state-of-the-art track
where day and night races go on during Fair week.