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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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A billboard ad for the Bloomsburg Fair from the 1970s
A billboard ad from the 1970s

Bloomsburg Fair

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 Flash":

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 attend yearly.

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).

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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.

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