Tricounty News

Enjoy the fair

With August right around the corner, county fair season begins. Fairs provide us with an opportunity to learn and relax before we begin another harvest and school year. The fair contains a plethora of events, one could easily say “something for everyone.” From carnival rides and games, tractor pulls, demo derbies, live music, and fun foods to the showing of prize livestock, garden vegetables, art or handiwork, homemade goods and more. There is much to do at the fair.

County fairs were first developed in the United States in the early nineteenth century. Agricultural reformers in Northeastern U.S. and the Agricultural Society organized these small fairs to promote modern farming. Originally, county fairs were developed as a way to educate and congregate farmers and the rural society. Fairs used this opportunity to show the newest farm equipment, the best of livestock breeds and crops; it provided valuable connections among farmers. Farming clubs and organizations such as 4-H and FFA are able to advocate their organization and teach youth about agriculture. Young girls and boys were encouraged to exhibit their arts and homemade products. New performers are introduced and farm businesses had the chance to advertise.

The first state fair was in New York in 1841; Minnesota’s first state fair was in 1859 (a year after becoming a state) in Minneapolis. The fair site changed annually at this time, hosting cities include St. Paul, Rochester, Winona and others. As the state fair gained popularity, more organization and funding was required to ensure its success. Soon a permanent site was set in St. Paul on 320 acres of land. The state fair presents the best of the best from Minnesota. The fair allows new ideas to be shared freely.

Although much has changed in farming since the first state and county fairs, fairs still stay true to their initial purpose; to educate and bring together the community. The state and county fairs provide agriculturalists an opportunity to tell their story and share their successes. During August, attend your county fair and see some great exhibits, hear some excellent entertainment or just enjoy a day with your neighbors.

Facts on county fairs were found from: Encyclopedia of Chicago;

Oklahoma Historical Society Encyclopedia of Oklahoma history and culture;

Minnesota State Fair