Volunteers work in the concession stand before the start of a football game between Gardiner and Mt. Blue on Sept. 1 at Hoch Field in Gardiner. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Another football season has come and gone. And so too another tremendous season of work by volunteers in concession stands throughout central Maine.

As exciting as the action was on the gridiron this fall, the food options of the concession stand helped keep the excitement going throughout the fall. From staple grill items like hot dogs and hamburgers, to crock pot items like meatballs and chili, hard-working football volunteers made sure the stomachs of fans stayed full.

With it being Thanksgiving weekend, and the start of the holiday season, it seems fitting to announce my annual ranking of — in my opinion — the top five concession stands of the 2023 season. The criteria are relatively simple: Accessibility, menu choices and taste are ultimately what lifts a concession stand to the top of the rankings. Each visit was with a $20 budget. From each stand I visited, I can assure you, your dollar stretches further in value there than your favorite restaurant.

Also, I realize that with this column being an annual event, it should have a proper award name. Feel free to reach out to me at ddyer@centralmaine.com with any ideas for a great award name (The Concessions? The Foodies?).

Honorable Mention: Messalonskee High School (Veterans Field)

The staff at Veterans Field are what stand out here. Not only a friendly group, but quick too, which was needed this fall for a team that was one of the hottest in Class B. It’s the standard concession fair in Oakland, but it’s always tasty. The cheeseburger basket was one of the best I had of the season. And the corn chowder was the standout crockpot item.


No. 5: Cony High School (Fuller Field)

The fried dough at Fuller Field is still, in my opinion, the best in central Maine. It’s light, not overcooked, with plenty of butter sauce, powdered sugar and cinnamon. You can never go wrong with fair food items on the menu. Cony is also consistent with its offering of crockpot items, from meatballs to chili. The Rams even offered a barbeque food truck on occasion this fall, with a delicious pulled pork & mac n’ cheese item that was certainly noticeable.

4. Winthrop High School (Charlie’s Field)

It’s not just a brand-new field that Winthrop fans will get to enjoy for future years. The food truck at Charlie’s Field has become almost rock-star quality, with a huge menu, including some of the best — and most sizable — fries in the area. The game that I attended — a 21-0 victory over Lisbon on Oct. 13 — the line for the food truck stretched from one side of the parking lot above the field, nearly to the other side.

3. Winslow High School (Poulin Field)

The crew at Poulin Field can once again lay claim to the best hot dog of the area. No other in central Maine currently beats the salt pork & onions option provided by Winslow High School music boosters. But the chicken tender basket, served with hand-cut fries, is an underrated staple. Show up early for pregame and enjoy.


Charlie Shuman picks up snacks from the new Rambers Roadhouse concession stand during a football game Sept. 23 on Charlie’s Field at Maxwell Complex in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

No. 2: Gardiner Area High School (Hoch Field)

The defending concession stand champion had another great fall, highlighted by the opening of its new concession stand, with a giant kitchen, located at the far end of Hoch Field. Having attended multiple Gardiner games this fall, I tried nearly every option, and was never disappointed. The walking taco — a taco put together within a small bag of Doritos — was the standout of the season. Another was the chili/mac n’ cheese combination, recommended early in the season by one of the volunteers, which became a regular order. Gardiner can also lay claim to the best dessert in central Maine, an apple crisp sold at each home game by the Gardiner volleyball team. With a scoop of ice cream, it has become a staple of Friday nights for Tiger fans. The lack of the fried dough bites, a usual staple at Hoch Field, was noticeable, along with no sausage sandwich option. Both lifted Gardiner to the top last season.

No. 1 Lawrence High School (Keyes Field)

The Bulldogs may have fallen just short of a Class B state title this fall, but they are the central Maine champion of the concession stand for this season. There are several reasons why Lawrence ended up at the top. The most noticeable trait of the stands at Keyes Field (at Pete Cooper Stadium) are the multiple locations on the premises. Lawrence has as many as three different stands going on a Friday night. If it’s a busy evening, that’s an extremely convenient option for a fan. Beyond that, a friendly staff and delicious food helps put it over the top. The Lawrence crew makes a solid, and sizeable fried dough (fair options will always put a stand high on the list). But the standout is the sausage bomb. Good sized, delicious, with good snap and onion/peppers as an option, it’s easily one of the best in the area. Enjoy with some mustard.

I’m already getting excited for what food options may appear next fall. Until then, it’s time to enjoy some Thanksgiving leftovers.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.