75days until
2014 Fairfield Co. Fair

Office Hours

Remember When .....
 
 
 
Prices
 
Admissions for the Fair:
   
In 1881 ..
Prices for admission was .25 for all over 12 yrs old.
   
In 1927..
Prices for admissions was .25
 
In 1966 ..
Prices for admissions went from .50 to .75.
 
In 1969
Prices for admission went from .75 to $1.00.
 
In 1975
Prices for admission went from $1.00 to $1.50.
 
In 1979
Prices for admission went from $1.50 to $2.00.
 
In 1986
Prices for admission went from $2.00 to $3.00.
 
In 1995
Prices for admission went from $3.00 to $4.00.
 
In 1998
Prices for admission went from $4.00 to $5.00.
 
Present
Prices for admission is $5.00.
 
 Parking for the Fair:
 
In 1881
Prices for parking was .25 a day for both Horse and Vehicles.
 
In 1955
Prices for parking was .50.
 
In 1984
Prices for parking went from .50 to $1.00.
 
In 1995
Parking became FREE.
 
Present
Parking is FREE.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

HISTORY OF

THE FAIRFIELD COUNTY FAIR

1850                    2014

 
 
 
 

      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 Standing Stone.

      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 location.

      As 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 barley.

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 staged.

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 Fair management.

In 1886, the shallow dug wells and cisterns, which had furnished the only water supply, were abandoned and city water piped over the grounds.

To 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.

As the years went by more land was added to the grounds and all departments of the Fair were gradually expanded.

Taking note of the Fair success, the Railroads ran excursions to the Fair not only from points in Ohio, but from Indiana as well.

The 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.

1898 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.

After 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.

In 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 this Exhibition.

                The physical 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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
Visit These Historical Buildings
Located on Fairfield County Fairgrounds
    
 
 
1. Mt. Zion United Brethren Church (Huddle Church) was built in 1858. Moved and rebuilt on the Fairgrounds in 1990.
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. Moved from a site over the Ohio Canal in 1916 (cost $490) to the Roley School House site, over Paw-Paw Creek, north of Baltimore, Ohio. Moved to the Fairgrounds in 1972.
 
 
 
3. Replica of 1930 Gasoline Station. Built in 1979 and donated by Lancaster Old Car Club.
 
 

 

 

 
 4. Original Floral Hall - built prior to 1860.
 
 
 
 
 
5. The Pioneer Cabin - 1803. Originally located just outside the city on Pleasantville Road, this structure was moved to the Fairgrounds in 1953. The interior features many splendid examples of pioneer furniture, tools and utensils, some of which are quite rare used by the settlers of Fairfield County.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
6. The old Carroll, Ohio, Hocking Valley- C & O Depot - 1871-1966. Preserved on the Fairgrounds for historical purposes.
The Depot consists of three rooms, a waiting room for passengers, the middle room was the agent's room to sell tickets and send telegraph messages, the third room was the freight room used to send and recieve items for local residents.
 
 
 
 
7. Round Cattle Barn - 1906. Designed and built by J.E. Hedges.
 
 
 
 
   
8. The Dr. John V. Brison and son, Henry, Doctor's Office, Millersport, Ohio- Built mid 1850's. Moved to the Fairgrounds in 1985.
  
 
 
 
   
9. The Joe Arnold Store, Dumontville, Ohio- Founded about 1885 by Emanuel Miller, sold to Joe Arnold in 1904. Moved and erected on the Fairgrounds in 1969.
 
 
 
   
10. This amphitheatre was built during 1908-09 in a curve to correspond with the curve of the track.
  
 
 
11. The Weakley, No. 6, Liberty Township School House - Built about 1870 - Moved and re-built on the Fairgrounds in 1976.