During the coming week, hundreds of people from throughout the county will be traveling to Morris for the county fair. It is a drive that people have been taking for many years.
The county fair is probably one of the longest running, yearly events in history. This year's Stevens County Fair will mark its 139th year. That is a long time for one event to continue to operate on a yearly basis.
Looking back in our file copies there is mention of the county fair each fall. Our paper dates back to 1899 so that means the fair was running long before the paper started. In those early issues the fair was held more into September.
Some other interesting things that I have noticed is how certain things perhaps got their start. County residents were encouraged to bring their produce, baked and canned items for judging thus the start of the judging process. School age children brought the art and craft items they had made through the year along with written materials. Farmers entered crops such as corn, beans, oats and barley. In later years those winning the top prizes in judging were also able to bring their products to the state fair.
The early fairs usually included a parade and picnic. These were fun times where people could socialize with friends they probably hadn't seen for some time. Even in the early 1900s you can find mention of certain rides such as the Ferris Wheel and Merry-go-round.
In many ways the fairs of today carry the same traditions. The exhibits, the food and socializing are all important parts of the fair. The rides and entertainment are an added bonus.
The fair would not be a success each year without a lot of hard work. First of all there are the planners, the fair board, 4-H leaders, Homemakers and many others. Then there are the exhibitors, a vital group. The adults and children who work hard all year to prepare items to be exhibited at the fair.
The fair would not be a success without the people who donate their time, money and products. Those who work in the many booths and buildings are a vital part.
However, all these areas would mean nothing without the people who attend the fair. That includes you and me. People who walk through the grounds, enjoy the exhibits, ride the rides, sample the food and attend the shows. We are the most important ingredient in making a successful fair.
I encourage you to 'Come on over, have some fun' this week at the Stevens County Fair.