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Agricultural Fair

Striving to be in the fore-front of progress, the Unity Agricultural Society announces the Unity Agricultural Fair to take place at Three Rivers Park on the 14th, 15th, and 16th of August.  This pamphlet contains the categories in livestock, farm products and hand work, open to the re-enacting community.  Winners to be judged by written ballots of spectators.

 

 

A Brief History of AGRICULTURAL FAIRS

The United States in the nineteenth century saw explosive growth in education.  Encouraging American independence from Europe and with a starting point of Noah Webster’s Blue Backed Speller and American Dictionary, tax supported public schools and colleges (land grant colleges) were founded, along with library associations, lyceums and debate societies. Also organized were county, state and local agricultural associations whose purpose was to encourage and educate farmers, by providing a forum for the distribution of ideas and improvements in implements and farming methods.  Starting in 1807, Elkanah Watson exhibited 2 Merino sheep in Pittsfield, MA to encourage and influence American production.  His Berkshire Agricultural Exhibition in the autumn of 1810 boasted oxen, sheep, cows, heifers, calves and a boar, and drew thousands of attendees.  County and state Agricultural Societies held annual exhibits, managed by the well-to-do and gentlemen farmers to give farmers and their  wives the opportunity to compare and compete against the best stock, farm products and domestic handiwork along with providing a platform for national speakers, not only on agriculture, but also politics and moral reform, such as temperance and antislavery issues.  The fairs stimulated and celebrated agricultural progress with new ideas, methods, implements, improved seed and nursery stock and gave the opportunity for socializing.  Fairs came to be highly anticipated events with entertainment, first in the form of horse racing, then, in mid-century, advertising of railroads and steam lines, patent medicine shows, mercantile booths showing lock-stitch sewing machines, washing machines and stereoscopes, and spectacle that have morphed into the midway and carnival attractions of today.

AGRICULTURAL FAIR CONTINUED