A billboard ad from the 1970s
Originally an agricultural fair, held in 1855, the
Bloomsburg Fair was created to exhibit agricultural products,
especially fruits and grains, of Columbia County farmers. Admission
was ten cents. By 1857, there were 21 categories of exhibits,
including, along with livestock, grains, fruits, vegetables, and
agricultural instruments, a category for "Ladies Work and Flowers."
The fair soon expanded to include entertainment for the crowds. In
the early 1900s, a local newspaper reported a "Fairground
The grandstand never had such a Tuesday crowd. There was a
tremendous interest in the cannon act, too, for fully 3,000 were
waiting for the act when the gun exploded prematurely and the act
had to be call off.
Over the years, the fairgrounds have expanded by
almost 227 acres since 1885; many additional buildings and
improvements have been constructed: animal pens, stables,
grandstands, offices, and more, so that today the extensive
fairgrounds house a wide variety of facilities. Although it still
emphasizes its agricultural heritage, the fair has expanded to
include something for every taste. From midgets, fat ladies, freak
acts and "girlie shows" in the 40s and 50s, fair entertainment has
shifted to horse racing, automobile racing, a rodeo, dog shows,
arts and crafts, school exhibits, musical entertainment, a carnival
with rides, an antique farm museum; of course, there are the always
plentiful food booths. Still, the Bloomsburg Fair is formally
called the Columbia County Agricultural, Horticultural and
Mechanical Association fair, and its primary objective continues to
be a fair with a country, rural atmosphere. Fair week officially
begins the third Monday after Labor Day, and over 500,000 people
The project is documented with a book entitled
The History of the Bloomsburg Fair. Author David Millard,
a Bloomsburg area native and a regular at the annual Fair, presents
an exhaustive history of the event, profiles of major figures of
the Fair's history, color photos of Fair memorabilia, and historic
photos of past fairs.
Originally submitted by: Paul E. Kanjorski, Representative (11th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.