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Wooster Digital History Project

An Exciting Display: Non-Agricultural Attraction at the Fair

Across the United States, the economic landscape began to change around the late-nineteenth century. Careers were becoming more varied, and agriculture was no longer an interest to as many people. As a result, the addition of nonagricultural attractions was a way to keep funding the events and bring members of different vocations together.1

While the Wayne County Agricultural Society received county funding to put the fair on, these monies could not support the inevitable expansion of the fair.2 As a result, non-agricultural exhibitions have been instrumental to the success of the fair, enticing non-farmers in surrounding communities to gather. The fair at its birth supported nothing but agricultural exhibitions. However, with the addition of entertainment-focused features, more community members were driven to attend. As such, the Wayne County Fair has seen some rather extraordinary spectacles, including auto daredevils, rodeo shows, marching bands, and even ostrich races!3

1 Leslie Prosterman, Ordinary Life, Festival Days: Aesthetics in the Midwestern County Fair (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995), 64-5.
2 “County Fair Successful From Start, 100 Years Ago,” The Wooster Daily Record, September 6, 1949, 2.
3 Rules and Regulations of the One Hundred-sixth Annual Wayne County Fair: Premium List, September 13, 1955.