Our History

The Gasconade County Fair has been a longstanding tradition that offers a variety of contests, exhibits, and life lessons for the community, including the support of the local 4-H program, FFA, Scouts, and opportunities for youth to showcase their talents.

For years, county fairs have provided an opportunity to learn new things. When you think of county fairs, the carnival rides, fish sandwiches, and funnel cakes first come to mind, but it is much more than that. It is a place where young and old can show off their talents with the many contests the fair provides. Contests such as horseshoe pitching which started in 1960 in Gasconade County and has grown. Fair Queen, Pig tail and Ponytail contest (1960), muzzle loading shoot and archery contest (1979), micro-mini tractor pulls (1979), Little Mr. and Miss contest (1992), public speaking contest, (1993), and BBQ contest (1995), are just a few of the many ways the Gasconade County fair supports the gifts of our community for the last 75 years.

 

The parade has also been a highlight of the fair, giving the opportunity for the businesses to give back to the county. Starting with the first fair, and then given themes in 1970, the parade has shown the pride and love we have for our county. With themes such as “American Heritage, Land of our Forefathers,” “America Salutes her Bicentennial”, “There’s a song in the air”, “Wide World of Sports”, to last year’s “Diamonds and Denim”, the parade has demonstrated the varied resources and rich fertility of our County.

 

The Gasconade County Fair additionally is the most recognizable element of the local 4-H program. But did you know that before the fair began in the county, there were many Home Economic Extension Clubs that were started in early 1900’s to share their own skills with other members of the community? Although the primary purpose of each club was to improve their own family living, their good deeds did not stop there and was felt by the whole county, which consisted of such things as sponsoring ball teams, purchasing a merry-go-round for the park (1948), taking care of church yards and cemeteries, hand making and supplying clothing to families in need, and much more. With this, the clubs took their projects to the County Fair to display for the community to see and be judged. 

 

These clubs supported the 4-H whole heartedly with teaching the young ones their skill.  In 1948, 4-H was given a special place in the exhibit hall and has blossomed ever since. Having the exhibits give the youth the opportunity to show the county what they produce, not only with livestock but the many other talents they possess and show pride and be rewarded for their hard work and commitment. It was estimated that over 10,000 people attended the fair in 1954 and was able to view and enjoy the 4-H club projects consisting of clothing, woodwork, home furnishings, food preparation and more.

 

Youth from all over the county benefited from life lessons taught at the fair. Various churches, businesses, and community groups would volunteer to work in the food stands with small children to teach responsibility and involvement. The “greased pig contest” that started in 1960, was a way to start your own pig project as a child. If you could catch him, you got to keep him! For years, on the last day of the fair, there was a candy stand under the pavilion to spend left over tickets, what a reward!

 

During the off season, the Gasconade County fair buildings have benefitted several community businesses. They have been used in different capacities throughout the years like storing buses for Gasconade County R2 school district for $3 per month rent in 1953, MFA and Schneider Bros machinery storage, and many business meetings and events. The Fair Board has made every effort to make the fair a great success and to show people, young and old, what can be done with the cooperation of all.