Tuesday Trivia: All’s fair, and it has been for a long, long time

J. H. Osborne • Aug 21, 2018 at 3:27 PM

Livestock exhibits, midway rides, cooking demonstrations and musical performances. It must be time for the Appalachian Fair. This year’s theme is Farm Fresh Family Fun.

For this week’s Tuesday Trivia, we looked into the history of agricultural fairs in America, and this is what we found out:

• While the Appalachian Fair has been around for 92 years, “evidence points to the existence of fairs as early as 500 B.C.,” and they were commercial in character from the beginning.

• In 1765, the first fair on this continent was held in Windsor, Nova Scotia.

• Elkanah Watson earned the title "Father of US agricultural fairs" by organizing the Berkshire Agricultural Society and creating an event (known then as a Cattle Show) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in September 1811.

• The core elements of those early fairs can still be found in today’s agricultural fairs. For example, at the Appalachian Fair this year, you’ll find farm and home competitive exhibits, field crop exhibits, livestock exhibits and creative cooking exhibits.

• Today, about 2,000 fairs are held in North America each year. “They provide industrial exhibits, demonstrations and competition aimed at the advancement of livestock, horticulture and agriculture with special emphasis placed on educational activities,” according to the IAFE.

SOURCE: International Association of Fairs and Expositions

For more on this week’s Appalachian Fair in Gray, visit the Johnson City Press.