Aurora Farmers' Fair

Aurora, IN 47001


In January, 1908, Clarence B. Wilson, a newcomer to Aurora, had the idea of staging an agricultural show. He talked on the subject with Edward Chambers, a local businessman and chicken fancier, William Ketcham, a prominent Dearborn County farmer, Joseph R. Houston, the public school superintendent, Adam Hill, a wharf-boat owner and local coal merchant, and William Hoskins, a manufacturer. Thus was born the first Aurora Farmers’ Fair and Indiana’s oldest street festival.

At that first fair, no rigs or teams were permitted on Main Street or Second Street. Extra hitching posts were erected in other sections of town to accommodate the visitors. A ladies rest room was placed in the Neff Building on Second Street. Exhibit entries were accepted by Llewellyn E. Davies, fair secretary, and all were displayed out in the open where they could easily be seen. Long tables, constructed of trestles and boards, were placed in the gutters at the edge of the brick and cement pavement on both sides of Second Street from Bridgeway to Judiciary Streets. J. C. Wright and sons performed this task. The day of the first fair dawned warm and pleasant, and huge crowds swarmed into town. Horses and buggies, two-horse wagons, surreys and spring wagons, people on horseback, and a few in single and double cylinder automobiles all made their way to Aurora. From Kentucky and Ohio they came, from Switzerland, Ohio, Ripley, Jennings, and other counties they came, over roads thick with dust to where the huge event was staged. The old Aurora ferry, which was powered by two horses, which walked a treadmill to turn the paddle wheels, worked overtime that day.

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