QQQS OF KENTUCKY g-____ - 195 -
lo- approaching mass production. Local salesmen for the manufacturers of this equip-
so- ment seized the opportunity offered by the fairs and began the practice, still
ity, continued on a grander scale at the Kentucky- State Fair, of exhibiting their
zen- wares and taking orders. A binder in operation, a threshing machine driven by
Qyg; steam power were the counterpart, in crowd drawing power, to the auto races and
ance airplane stunts of recent years. Household exhibits-- needle and crochet work,
iirs quilts, products of the loom. dairy, and kitchen-- were supplemented by products
1 of of the pen, pencil, and brush.
Amusement features` grew in variety and attractiveness. Bands, military
parades, walking matches, high-wheeled bicycle races, the already familiar merry-
go-round or "Flying Jenny," reinforced by‘a steam calliope, and balloon ascens-
ield ions vied with the vending of popcorn, candies, brightly-colored whips, caps,
This gimcracks and knicknacks, soaps, patent medicines, and ice cream. The inevitable
1 to basket picnic dinner under the trees, the speeches-- mainly political-- all this
the and more lent life, color, and variety to the occasion.
.rs, Organization of the local fairs continued as late as 1890, but after that
all year there is no record of further material expansion befere the establishment
the of the Kentucky State Fair. The five-year depression that began in 1295 deflated
zen- livestock prices and destroyei, for a time, the market for purebred:. Already
.ays badly battered by seventeen years of adverse conditions, and faced by a still
more unfavorable future of inlefinite duration, the breeders of the State, who
had backed the fairs of the 1e50's and after, closed the gates of their fairs and
for bided their time. V
new By 1900 economic recovery was on its way and interest in the fairs revived;
lund but a blow had been given the old agricultural and mechanical societies from
war which few of them recovered. The State Department of Agriculture fostered farm-
·ery ers' institutes and farmers’ clubs; and fairs sponsored by the Elks and other
ain societies were attempted and for a time proved popular. But the lack of a State-
the wide rallying point for agriculture was felt by the livestock breeders of all
ety sections of the Commonwealth. Various ways of meeting the situation were consid-
ike ered. The one most favored was to revert to the program of 1856-- a State-
for sponsored traveling fair, moving from district to district within the Common-
her wealth, under immediate direction of able agricultural leaders representative of
all sections and interests within the State. The manufacturers of Louisville
pledged their support to such a program, and, in 1901, with such purpose in mind,
and the Kentucky Livestock Breeders’ Association, a society having State—wide member-
cts ship, was created. .
ger 4
ce, The first Kentucky State Fair was held on the Churchill Downs racecourse in
in Louisville in the early autumn of 1902. The most recent of record is that of
and 1941. Between these two dates lies colorful history covering four distinct
ose administrative periods: (1) that of 1902-5, during which the fairs were under the
its control and management of the Kentucky Livestock Breeders' Association; (2) the
ing fairs of 1906-11, when the management was in the hands of a board chosen by the
ire farmers of the State through the farmers’ institutes of that day; (5) the fairs
ill of 1912-58, during which period the management was vested in an agricultural
board appointed by the governor which had as one of its duties the holding of the
State Fair; and (4) the period, which began in 1958, of control by a State Fair
ap- board, within but structurally distinct frpm that of the existing agricultural
nge board. V .
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