A Picture Of The New Fairgrounds In 1918
This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the Steele County Fair at the same location. Here's a link to a photo from 1919 magazine article on the new fairgrounds in Owatonna.
Here's some tidbits on the new fairgrounds taken from a meeting and presentation to the Minnesota Agricultural Society in 1921. M. J. Parcher was secretary of the fair and stated that the fair was 3 years old and there had been 4 fairs held at the grounds. So I assume one year they had 2 fairs. Mr. Parcher explained that land had been purchased for a county poor farm and the fair people had asked that some of the land be given for the purpose of a new fair grounds. I'm aware of a reference to a county poor farm in Havana but not about one being where the fairgrounds currently are.
Parcher stated they had over $60,000 worth of buildings with only $5,000 left to pay off. Citizens put together a bazaar and raised $3,800 and used that to put up a $4,800 building. It doesn't say which one. An eating stand was open for 4 days of the fair and raised another $800 for the fair grounds. The city donated $500 one year and then $1,000 the next year. Using the creameries, individual citizens were contacted and a total of $1,500 to $2,000 was raised.The grandstand cost $12,000 and took in $1890 in receipts that year with admission being 50 cents in the day and 25 cents admission at night. Horse racing offered a purse of $2,700 and the fireworks cost $800.
Digging through this old history, it certainly comes across that Mr. Parcher was what I'd call an optimistic fireball. The kind of guy that would state "get off the pot and just do it".
Enjoy this year's anniversary of the fair grounds. Dates are August 14-19.