County Fairs-A Summertime Favorite

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson July 24, 2017 13:18

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It’s not really known when the first county fair was held, but evidence indicates that these events occurred as early as 500 B.C.  Fairs were commercial in nature from the start, with merchants from other countries coming together to sell and trade their merchandise.  During the early Christian era, the church took an active part in sponsoring fairs, and our modern day church bazaars possess some of the same principles.

In 1765, less than 300 years after Columbus finished his endeavors in the New World, the first American fair was held in Windsor, Nova Scotia.  Many small fairs were held during the early 1700s in French Canada while under French rule.

In New England a patriot and farmer named Elkanah Watson organized the Berkshire Agricultural Society and created a September 1811 event then known as the Cattle Show in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  These accomplishments were what earned him the title of “Father of US agricultural fairs”.  He developed these events by creating competition with prize money for the best exhibits of oxen, cattle, swine and sheep, and worked for many years helping communities organize their own ag societies and fairs.

The central elements of those ag society events of the early 1800s are at the heart of the agricultural fair as we know it today, in over 3,200 fairs held in North America each year.  They provide industrial exhibits, demonstrations and competition focused on the advancement of livestock, horticulture and agriculture, and they place special importance on educational activities such as 4-H and FFA.  Add to that the fair rides and food as well as nightly entertainment, and your county fair could well be the highlight of your summer.

And speaking of fair entertainment, a used car dealer by the name of “Crazy Jim” promoted a demolition derby in Franklin, Wisconsin in 1950.  An LA Times article by Kevin Baxter also mentions earlier derbies at county fairs during the great depression, but offered no more details.   I’m not sure when the machine choice included combines, but for your entertainment, here’s a video from a combine demolition derby this past March.

 

Now you know what you can do with your old combine!

-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team

Resources:

https://www.fairsandexpos.com/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=iafe&WebCode=History

http://ddleague.org/history-of-demolition-derby/

 

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson July 24, 2017 13:18
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