The Farmers’ Club And Fair Association

The Farmers’ Club was also an early organization which did a good work, and the first farmers’ institute was organized about 1873, but was a short-lived affair. The so-called Fair Association had charge of the agricultural and live stock exhibits, originally held in and near the courthouse square. The first regular fair grounds were four blocks south of the courthouse. H. J. Dunlap, now of Kankakee, who was prominently connected with these organizations in the early days, says that the Fair Association went out of existence about 1900, and adds: “The first fair was held in courthouse square in 1852, the first one which I attended being in 1856. In a year or so ground was purchased for the fair north of the city, near the new cemetery. I think that fairs were held there until about 1870 when the old association disbanded, and a new company purchased forty acres of what is now known as Fairview, or then ground west of the university.” After the disbandment of the old Fair Association, as just stated, the Champaign County Fair and Driving Association was incorporated on March 3, 1905. The former fair grounds in Champaign were sold and platted into a city addition known as Fairland Place, one of the most desirable residence sections of the city. The new organization procured commodious grounds just north of Urbana, on which the county fair is held annually. The officers of the association for 1917 are: Fred Rising, president; H. D. Oldham, secretary; Lewis Prather, treasurer.

Source: A Standard History of Champaign County, Illinois, by J. R. Stewart, published by The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago And New York, 1918.

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