Admissions for the Fair:
In 1881 ..
Prices for admission was .25 for all over 12 yrs old.
Prices for admissions was .25
In 1966 ..
Prices for admissions went from .50 to .75.
Prices for admission went from .75 to $1.00.
Prices for admission went from $1.00 to $1.50.
Prices for admission went from $1.50 to $2.00.
Prices for admission went from $2.00 to $3.00.
Prices for admission went from $3.00 to $4.00.
Prices for admission went from $4.00 to $5.00.
Prices for admission is $5.00.
Parking for the Fair:
Prices for parking was .25 a day for both Horse and Vehicles.
Prices for parking was .50.
Prices for parking went from .50 to $1.00.
Parking became FREE.
Parking is FREE.
THE FAIRFIELD COUNTY FAIR
Fairfield County was formed December 6, 1800 by proclamation
of Governor St. Clair and was so named from the beauty of its fair fields. It
contains many varieties of soil.
Lancaster, the county
seat in 1790 contained about 100 wigwams and 500 people: It was called Tarhee
or Cranetown by the Wyandotte Indians. In 1797 Ebenezer Zane opened the road
known as “Zane’s Trace”. It passed through the site of Lancaster and in 1800
laid out the town and by way of compliment to the early settlers from Lancaster
County, Pennsylvania, called it New
Lancaster. The “New” was dropped in 1805. At the north edge of Lancaster is Mount Pleasant or The
A fight here between the
Indians, who had held the white girl, Forest Rose, as a captive, and her
rescuers, Lewis Wetzel and Albert Maywood, was the foundation of a novel by
Emerson Bennett issued in 1848 in which the heroine was “Forest Rose”.
Careful investigation has
shown that The Fairfield County Agricultural Society was first
organized in 1850 with John Reber, President and John S. Brazee, Secretary.
The first Fairfield
County Fair was held at Lancaster, Ohio, during the
second week of October, 1851, in a field owned by the Society’s president, John
Reber. This location was west of North Columbus
Street and south of the Reservoir. The first
exhibition was quite successful and, consequently, John Reber as president was
vested by the Board of Directors with the power to purchase a permanent Fairground.
Mr. Reber purchased
approximately fourteen acres lying at the foot of Mt. Pleasant on its western
side and north of “Lundy’s Lane” (now East Fair
Avenue). The 1852 Fair was held on the new
the purpose of the Society was the improvement of agriculture and domestic
manufacture, cash premiums were offered for the best livestock, grain,
vegetables and other products of the Home and Shops.
At first the buildings were
rather crude with “Railpens” being used to confine the smaller farm animals. At
that time horses were the principal means of power and transportation and so
they received much attention and naturally horse barns and a “Trotting Park”
(one-third mile race track) were constructed at an early date. Other buildings
were erected from time to time and more land was purchased as needed.
By 1876 the Fairgrounds had
expanded to 22 acres with the following buildings thereon: two amphitheaters,
each 104 feet in length; a Floral Hall, Livestock Stalls, a Band Stand and
other miscellaneous structures.
Premiums were paid for the
highest yields per acre of the principal farm grains: corn, wheat, oats and
Prizes were awarded for the
Township that turned in the largest number of rat tails at Fair time.
In 1868 Purses for the
fastest trotting horse, mare or gelding were first $50.00, second $25.00, third
$10.00. Starting in 1868 Velocipede (bicycle) and foot (walking) races were
By 1880 the grounds had
expanded to 36 acres and a new one-half mile race track was constructed with the
contractor receiving 14½ cents per cubic yard for moving the dirt. At that time
six hundred shade trees were set out on the north part of the grounds, new
cattle and sheep barns were built and much leveling and grading done.
The 1883 Fair marked the
completion of a new amphitheatre 130 feet long and 50 feet high with the lower
part used as a Floral Hall. The seating capacity was 1000 and was open only to
the ladies and we are told that they were free from all annoyance and as
comfortable as though they were in an opera house. The same year a large
reception and dressing room for the ladies was erected on the north side of the
race track. At that time the total amount offered for Races (both harness and
running) was $2,500.00 and in the harness races the winner of the race had to
win three of the five heats in each race.
As soon as suitable Exhibit
Halls were available, business firms put their merchandise on exhibit during
the Fair. This practice proved very satisfactory both to the merchants and the
In 1886, the shallow dug
wells and cisterns, which had furnished the only water supply, were abandoned
and city water piped over the grounds.
accommodate the exhibitors of Power Machinery, a line shaft was constructed in
1888 and a Mr. Reed was employed to furnish power for the shaft with his
portable steam engine. For this service for four days, Mr. Reed was to receive
$18.00, he to furnish the oil for the engine and line shaft, the Fair Board to
furnish coal and water.
the years went by more land was added to the grounds and all departments of the
Fair were gradually expanded.
note of the Fair success, the Railroads ran excursions to the Fair not only
from points in Ohio, but from Indiana as well.
summer of 1889 marked the drilling of a 10,000,000 cubic foot gas well on the
grounds. At both the 1889 and 1890 Fairs, this gas was used to light the race
track by standpipe flares, and both harness and running races were held at
night. Fairfield County had the proud
distinction of being the only place on earth where races by gas light were
successfully carried on. The same time marked the use of the “Lake of Fire”, gas being
piped to the center of the lake and ignited as it bubbled up through the water
from the perforated pipes.
marked the introduction of mechanical rides for the entertainment of Fair
patrons. For the sum of fifteen dollars John Gooding received the privilege of
operating a Steam Driven “Merry-Go-Round”. Harness Races have always been a
popular feature and at the present time, the track records are as follows:
For Trotters - “Bingham” 2:02.4-2005
For Pacers - “Goin Like Sam” 1:59-1998
1904 and 1906 saw the construction of a large Dining
Hall and Round Cattle Pavilion, in the order named.
the 1908 Fair, two disastrous fires occurred. They consumed all the Race Horse
Barns, which covered the entire High Street frontage of the Fairgrounds, the
Art Hall and both of the Grandstands.
1909, a new wooden Grandstand was built with a seating capacity of 500. The
same year the Art Hall was constructed. In the next few years, this building
grew to include the Agriculture and Horticulture Departments, school exhibits
and considerable space for Commercial exhibits. The combined area covered by
this one roof, totals 22,000 square feet. A combined Residence (for caretaker)
and Fairground office, three new Race Horse Barns and Swine Barn were added
during the period 1910 through 1916.
The breeding of fancy
Poultry being quite popular at that time, a new 80’ x 80’ Poultry building was
erected in 1922 to house an extensive Poultry exhibit.
Starting in 1914, the Fair Board sponsored an annual Boy’s Corn
Growing Contest. These were followed by Beef Cattle, Swine and Poultry
projects, for the county boys and girls. This developed into regular
participation in the annual Fair by the following named Junior Groups: Schools,
4-H Clubs, F.F.A., F.H.A., Boy and Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls, Farm Bureau
Youth Councils and Grange Youth.
In 1927 the Wooden Grandstand was moved to the east end of the
Race Track. A modern steel and concrete Grandstand, seating 2,600, was erected
on the old site. The dedication of this Grandstand ushered in the first night
Fair. General use of electric lights made this possible.
The first High School Band
Parade was organized in 1940.
Buildings added in more recent years, include the U shaped
Brick Barn in 1938; the all steel Sheep Barn in 1949; Pioneer Cabin in 1953;
Carroll, Ohio C & O Depot in 1966; the Joe Arnold Country Store and the Pole
Horse Barn in 1969; the Roley Covered Bridge in 1972; the Administration
Building in 1973; Weakley Brick School in 1976; the Livestock Pavilion in 1977;
the Pole Beef Cattle Barn and the replica of a 1930 Gasoline Station in 1979;
the Swine Show Barn in 1983; the Brison’s Doctor Office in 1985; the Mount Zion
United Brethren Church (Huddle
Church); Show Arena in 1990; the AAA
Multipurpose Building in 1999; and the Ed Sands/Fairfield County Farm Bureau
Building in 2008.
The Fair management has through the years anticipated the needs
of the community, both agriculturally and commercially.
The Fairfield County Fair during all the years of its existence
has experienced foul weather and sunshine, depressions and boom years, has
operated annually even through the unsettled conditions caused by five major
wars. The Society has grown from operating in a pasture field with only
borrowed money in the treasury to the unencumbered ownership of grounds
containing 68 acres on which are 49 buildings and all necessary accessories for
the use and convenience of the exhibitors and visitors, who annually attend
growth of this organization can be measured, but no one is competent to
recount its contribution during the past 160 years to the development and
improvement of the community and the nation.