Meredith Mathieu, also known as the “Fried Dough Queen,” holds up a trophy and some dough while working a game at Hoch Field in Gardiner earlier this season. Dave Dyer/Kennebec Journal

If you are a high school football fan, you know there is so much more to a Friday night or Saturday afternoon than just the game itself.

It’s the atmosphere. It’s the weather, the sights, the sounds. The camaraderie of sitting with fellow students or fans cheering from the stands. The school band bellowing out fresh tunes.

And then there’s the food.

Like a well-cooked hot dog at a baseball game, food can enhance the in-game experience for fans. A delicious crockpot dish item from a team parent might just be the thing that keeps you warm on a cold fall night.

There’s more to sports reporting than just writing. You’re almost part trucker as well. Any time I depart from my Belfast home, wherever I go will end up being a trip. Just one way, it’s 45 minutes to Augusta or Waterville. It’s 67 minutes to Skowhegan. A trip to Farmington is 90 minutes. And one tends to get a little hungry on these trips. I made it a point every Friday or Saturday to hit the concession stand and, while I’m no Gordon Ramsey, I’ve had my fair share of food. The volunteers who make up the snack shacks in each district are wonderful folks who add to the enjoyable atmosphere of a game. And the food is almost always delicious.

This season, I decided to rank my five favorite concession stands in central Maine, purely based off the taste of the food. I kept a $20 budget (which gets you a lot, by the way) at each game. It’s also based off the venues I visited. In the end, my stomach was the true winner.



Honorable mention: Maxwell Field, Winthrop

I sadly did not get to cover a game over at Maxwell Field this fall, but the home of the Ramblers still makes the list for years of consistently great food. Winthrop’s concession stand, served out of a food truck, has the best sausage sandwich that I would put up against anyone’s Fourth of July party. And a solid fried dough is always available.


No. 5: Caldwell Field, Mt. Blue High School, Farmington

Possibly the friendliest staff on the list, the Caldwell Field crew was ready to go when I visited for the season opener on Sept. 2, a 50-8 win for the Cougars over Brunswick. The sweet and sour meatballs were the meal of the evening in Farmington, mixed with a solid macaroni and cheese. You can never go wrong with comfort food for crockpot items.


Kennebec Journal sports writer Dave Dyer was hard at work trying some of the best food from the central Maine high school concession stands during the fall. Here, Dyer tries chili, sweet and sour meatballs and pasta from the Fuller Field concession stand at Cony High School in Augusta. Dave Dyer/Kennebec Journal


No. 4: Fuller Field, Cony High School, Augusta

I covered a lot of games at Fuller Field this fall, as the Rams marched to a Class B North semifinal appearance. Always a friendly staff, the Fuller Field crew was consistent with pasta dishes for crockpot items and the steamed hot dogs were always tasty. But what put Cony on the list this year was the fried dough, which I sampled during the home opener in Week 2, when the Rams beat Massabesic 28-7. The dough was light, but plenty crispy and delectable. If you’re a fan of fair food, like I am, a good fried dough can be a game-changer. It certainly was that night.

No. 3: Ricky Gibson Field of Dreams, Maranacook Community High School, Readfield

The Black Bear staff knows how to work a grill. I had the good fortune to hit up the Ricky Gibson Field of Dreams for Maranacook’s 28-8 win over Sacopee Valley in the eight-man Small School playoffs on Oct. 21. I managed to have a cheeseburger that was so good, I had to have a second one. Paired with an order of french fries, I was good to go for the evening.



No. 2: Poulin Field, Winslow High School, Winslow

I’ve tasted the Fenway Frank and the sausage bombs in Boston. I’ve enjoyed a Chicago-style hotdog at Wrigley Field. And I am telling you, here and now, that the hot dogs served at Poulin Field ranks with them. Thanks to the hard work of the Winslow Performance Arts Boosters, this crew takes cooking hot dogs to another level by adding salt pork and onions which, admittedly, I had never tried until I stopped by on Sept. 3 for Winslow’s 58-14 season-opening victory over Old Town. They were incredible. I had two. I could have had five. And not to be outdone, the chicken tender basket was especially juicy, paired with hand cut fries.

Fans hit the Hoch Field concession stand in Gardiner during a football game earlier this season. Dave Dyer/Kennebec Journal


No. 1: Hoch Field, Gardiner Area High School, Gardiner

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to Hoch Field, this year’s winning concession stand food. Is it because they have two snack shacks? Maybe. Is it because it has one of the best sausage sandwiches in the area? Quite possibly. We also must show some love to the amazing fried dough bites that Meredith Mathieu — known as the “Fried Dough Queen” — prepares. The Hoch Field crew has just about everything one would desire for food on a Friday night. The first shack heats up the concession stand classics. The second stand, closer to the field, cooks up the main event dishes. Everything is tremendous. However, the exclamation point may have been the apple crisp, which the Gardiner volleyball team sold.

Now, if you excuse me, I’m getting a little hungry…

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