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Wooster Digital History Project

Fair Days: Attraction and Exchange

By Scott McLellan, revised by Eleanor Barker

Of all the traditions in the community, the Wayne County Fair remains one of the most beloved. Established by the Wayne County Agricultural Society in 1849 (though it was first held in 1850!), the fair was originally intended to help farmers come together, learn new techniques, and compete for prizes. Over the more than one-hundred-and-fifty years since then, the economic and demographic landscape of Wayne County has changed and so has what fairgoers want to see. Therefore, the fair has evolved from a more modest agricultural display to become Wooster’s biggest display of Americana. The modern fair is one that is designed to appeal to as diverse a community as its funds and vendors will allow. However, recent years have seen this notion questioned, and the resulting controversy brings up the question of whether or not the fair is doing all it can to bring the community together.