The History of the Shelby County Fair
Careful investigation has shown that the first fair held in Shelby County was on October 8th, 1840. The premiums offered at this fair amounted to forty-five dollars. This fair was very successful and Shelby County was destined to take prominent rank among the grain growing and stock raising counties of the flourishing Miami Valley. It contains many varieties of soil to make this county one of the best. Wheat, oats, corn, and hay were the main crops in those days with oats one of the top crops in the state rating. Most farms were much different than today: as they about all raised a variety of stock and poultry. Soybeans were unheard of then. Milking was done by hand and many ran milk through separators to divide the milk and cream to make butter and feed milk to the family, pets, hogs and poultry. These people worked very hard. They were up at daylight and worked all day long. The whole family pitched in and worked together just to eke out a living. They had very few conveniences and no luxuries.
The place of exhibition of this first fair was in the Courtsquare of Courtyard. It was held under an act passed by the legislature on April 12, 1839; "An act to authorize and encourage the establishment of Agricultural Societies in the Several Counties of the State and Regulate the Same.'' The second annual fair was held in Sidney on September 28, 1841. This was the last one held under this organization. These early fairs were mostly showing a variety of grains, vegetables, eggs, fruit, and homemade products. These fairs were very educational as many new ideas on farming and housekeeping were exchanged.
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