|Promotional announcement for the |
Sherburne County Fair in the
Star News 1915.
Sherburne County Fair, 2017, meets on July 20 to 23. It seemed appropriate to look back at the early days of the fair and experience the Great Sherburne County Get-Together from 128 years ago.
The fair first met at the A. B. Carlson farm in 1889. After the first year, the event moved to the Meadowvale School, the future site of the Sunbeam Grange Hall. Later sites for the fair included the Houlton property near the Mississippi River and the current site near Highway 10.
Until 1915 the county fair consisted of a one day meeting. Farmers brought out samples of their best crop, while women displayed craft work, baked goods, and jams and jellies. The day concluded with a potluck picnic. October first and second, 1915 the fair staged a two day event. Slowly, over time the Sherburne County Get-Together expanded to the four day event of today.
Over the years, the Sherburne County Agricultural Society, the group responsible for staging the fair, suffered growing pains. At least three times the group reorganized and redefined themselves. The group organized in 1889, they reorganized in 1915, in 1945, and again in 1989.
Scheduling the fair forever challenged the fair board. The original fair met the end of September 1889. By 1972, the dates of the fair crept into July when the county gathered on July 14 through 16. Weather considerations, heat and rain, as well as the work schedules of farmers tested the planning capabilities of the fair board. The event, today, remains in July.
Continuing through to today, the support for the fair appears throughout the county. Perhaps the most ardent boosters of the fair include the Sherburne County Star News. Under headlines in 1918, the newspaper announced, “Another Great Success Scored By The Sherburne County Fair.” The reporter for the news went on to describe the fair as “a complete success from every viewpoint. The exhibits were plentiful and of a high quality, while the attendance was most satisfactory.” Other years, the newspaper promised “More Exhibits Than Ever,” and “Prospects Are That the Sherburne County Fair This Year Will Be a Hummer.”
In spite of the many challenges and needs to reorganize, the Sherburne Fair remains a central event in Elk River. An event inviting county residents to the “Great Get-Together” that promises to be “another great success.”