Agricultural fairs began in the nineteenth century and are the predecessors of today's county fair. Fairs allowed farmers to come together in what might be called an “annual meeting" in order to look at improvements in agricultural machinery and practices, to compare their animals, plants, and skills with their neighbors, and to enjoy themselves in a festive atmosphere." In this project the class plans its own one day fair. This can be as small or as large as one wants to make it, and it may be used as the final project of the local history unit.


Here is a sampling of agricultural fair tickets from the 1870s and 1880s, a partial list of prizes given for animals, plants, and manufactured articles from the 1858 Sugar Grove Township Fair and the 1995 Warren County Fair Premium Book.

Ask students to look at the list of items exhibited and prizes given in 1858 and in 1995. What did Sugar Grove farmers in 1858 consider important enough to give prizes to? How has this changed or grown over time? What is considered valuable in your class? What would you want to display and talk about at your own Warren County Fair?

2. Ask students to organize their own one-day “Becoming a Part of Warren County History Fair” exhibit. Family, food, and the student’s own daily experiences are all a part of Warren County History.

Ideas include:
Exhibiting projects from the local history unit.
Bringing in and exhibiting family photographs.
Making and bringing in food made from family recipes.
Talking with one family member about a job he or she has worked at in Warren County.
Organizing games to play during the fair.

3. Students might want to make their own fair tickets using the samples from the Agricultural Fair. They may use these themselves or invite another class to their fair.


Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society