History of the Brown County Fair is from the "Big Story of The Little State Fair" by Al Rhonemus

1850's

  • Brown County Agricultural Society was organized on January 17, 1850.
  • The first Brown County Fair was held in Russellville on October 16, 1850.
  • The second fair was held in Ripley on October 2-3, 1851.
  • In 1853 the fair was held for the first time in Georgetown. (Present location)
  • In 1855 the fair became a four-day event. (September 25-28)

1860's

  • In 1860 instead of tickets, a badge was issued to fairgoers to move in and out of the fair.
  • In 1860 single-day admission was $0.25
  • In 1865 Floral Hall had 701 entries.
  • In 1867 membership fees were $1.50 and single admission was $0.25
  • In 1868 despite 8 of the 10 days prior to the fair of rain, the fair had 1008 entries and 193 head of livestock.
  • In 1868 there were 492 memberships recored ed.

1870's

  • In 1877 membership badges were $1.50 but an additional charge or $0.10 for each saddle horse, $0.15 for each horse and buggy, and $0.20 for each two-horse vehicle brought onto the fairgrounds.
  • In 1877 was the first time homemade wine appeared in the premium books.

1880's

  • In 1882 horse racing was eliminated because of the hazard to spectators.
  • In 1886 the fair was held in October (5-8).

1901-1920

  • In 1901 the Frost amphitheater was built. It would seat 3,000 people.
  • Sometime during this pied the grounds were used as a staging area for the military during the World War I period.
  • In 1919 during the fair, a period of silence was given for those who were wounded or died during the war from Brown County.
  • Today's center ring gazebo was erected sometime between 1902 and 1908.
  • In 1915 a new treasurer's office and archway at the 2nd Street Main entrance were built.
  • In 1919 membership tickets were $2.00

1921-1940

  • By 1925 or 1926 is was first heralded as the "Little State Fair"
  • In 1939 the fair book boasted of the "Little State Fair" and so it has ever since.
  • In 1923 at 3 o'clock each day all horse winners of any premium for that day paraded in the ring or forfeited their premiums.
  • In 1927 membership and season tickets were $2.50
  • In 1925 Truly Blue a road horse that never lost  since his first show in 1909 or 1910 died tragically in an accident competing in the final event of the fair.
  • In 1931 because of "hard times", membership tickets were reduced from $2.50 to $1.00 and it was cut back to 3 days.
  • In 1931 single admission was $0.25
  • 1934 was the first year for 4-H Claus to have their own premium schedule.
  • A premium list for The Future Farmers of America first appeared in the 1935 fair book.
  • In 1935, The Liberty Band was hire to play three days between horse show classes for $125.00
  • In 1936 a fair book could be mailed upon request from the fair board secretary for 1 cent.
  • In 1937 the 40 piece Cincinnati Gas and Electric Band played for fairgoers.
  • In 1940 a new telephone was installed  between the secretary's office and the Judge's gazebo.

1941-1950

  • In 1941 Brown County won the Myers Y. Cooper award for the best fair in Ohio in 1940.
  • A rule was enacted in 1941 that any Boy Scout attending in full uniform was admitted free.
  • In 1941 single admission was set at $0.35.
  • In 1942 the fair was discontinued until after the war. However 4-H projects were showed at the Ripley Fall Festival. (Oct 8-10). This festival and the 4-H participation gave the Agricultural Society credit for having continuous fairs since 1853.
  • In 1944 citizens asked the fair return to the 3 day program of earlier years.
  • Cost at the 1944 fair: Single Admission - $0.50, $0.25 for car parking, and $1.50 for season and membership tickets.
  • In 1945 a Memorial Service for all men and women who lost their lives from Brown County in WW II.
  • In 1945 a membership ticket was $1.50, $1.25 single admission and $0.25 federal tax. Single admission was $0.50 with 8 cents going for federal tax.
  • In 1947 the first night fair event was held on Thursday, Oct 2nd and featured a ten horse show classes and a concert by the Cincinnati Gas and Electric Band.
  • In 1948 the fair board decided to discontinue the night fair because the previous year had not been profitable.
  • In 1949 admission was raised to $0.75 of which 13 cents went for federal tax.
  • In 1950 fair events again included a night program.

1951-1960

  • The 100th Brown County Fair was held in 1951.
  • in 1951 Gooding Amusement Co. from Hillard, Ohio provided rides and payed the fair board $50 for use of electricity.
  • In 1952 School Day was established with County Superintendent H.D. West, allowing school buses to bring students to the fair.
  • Celebrity mule races of local people were held in 1954 and had 3 heats daily.
  • In 1955 it rained three of the four days and the fair board had to borrow $15,000 to pay bills.
  • Championship wrestling both men and women was held in front of the grandstand in 1955.
  • In 1956 the Republicans and Democrats requested  that each party rent space to pass out literature.
  • In 1956 the Georgetown Business and Professional Club was given permission to hold a Beauty Queen Contest. Wrist-watches were given to the winners.
  • In 1957 the fair board purchased $10,000 of liability insurance for $211. Today, $1,000,000 of liability insurance is over $20,000 for the fair.
  • In 1957 is was determined that Brown County Teachers who did not travel on the buses to the fair with the students would be charged the regular gate admission of $0.75.
  • In 1958 the fair board paid $1.00 per hour for unskilled labor and $1.50 for skilled labor before and during the fair.
  • In 1959 was the first year the fair board bought rain insurance.
  • In 1960 general admission prices were raised to $1.00.

1961-1970

  • In 1961skydivers from Williamsburg, Ohio were hired to make nine jumps onto the fairgrounds for $125.
  • In 1962 rain again affected fair receipts and the board had to borrow $8000 to pay premiums.
  • In 1963 the organist was paid $75.00 per day to play during horse shows.
  • In 1964 a week before the fair opened, the small grandstand built in 1937 burned to the ground.
  • In 1965 a rule was set into place that no pop was to be sold in cans because of the danger of people slipping on them.
  • In 1965 the first two days of the fair were completely rained out and was extended to Sunday to help make up for the loss.
  • In 1966 the fair board included a rain date of Sunday, October 2. A first in fair history and it was used because Friday was a rain out.
  • In 1966 was the first Speed Tractor Pull. The sled nothing more than a boiler plate. A small tractor was added for weight. Chairs were placed every 20 feet along each side of the track. Volunteers from the audience sat on the chairs. As the tractor began to pull and the sled passed, a person from each side would step on, adding weight.
  • In 1967 was the first year the fair book cover contest was sponsored by the fair board.
  • In 1968 the Lawn and Garden Tractor Pull was approved.
  • In 1968 the Brown County Historical Society asked permission to move the Dixon-Washburn Log House next to the Old Timers Building.
  • In 1969 the Brown County Fair became a 5-day event lasting Tuesday through Saturday.
  • In 1970 another Friday was rained out and the schedule was held over for Sunday.
  • The retirement of the debt and the burning of the mortgage in 1970 was mainly due to the income generated by the tractor pulls.

1971-1980

  • In 1972 the fair planned its first Demolition Derby for a Friday night event.
  • In 1973 the ground breaking for the Dixon-Washburn Log House was on September 18.
  • No Demolition derby was held in 1973.
  • In 1973, 18 year olds were allowed to purchase membership tickets and become members of the Agricultural Society.
  • In 1973 the board adopted a policy to hold a Senior Citizen's Day at half price admission from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • In 1974 the Quarter Horse Show added a calf-roping content in the tractor pull area on Friday night.
  • 1976 was the 125th Brown County Fair.
  • In 1977, Sam Cooper was granted permission to hold an Arm Wrestling contest in the Open Dairy show Arena.
  • In 1978 the board voted not to hold Senior Citizen Day and Junior Fair Passes were raised to $0.50.
  • In 1978 on Tuesday following the fair the large amphitheater burned to the ground.
  • In 1980 the fair board raised Junior Fair admission tickets to $1.00

1981-1990

  • In 1981 the Russellville Kiwanis Club sponsored Homing Pigeon races.
  • In 1982 camper fees were set to $30.00 for the week.
  • In 1982 the fair board voted to recognize the oldest man, oldest lady, person attending most Brown County Fairs, and the couple married the longest.
  • The Brown County Cattlemen sponsored their first Open Feeder Calf show.
  • In 1983 the fair board voted to hold a Sunday fair again and hold a demolition derby in front of the grandstand, held at fair time. This was never done again because of the damage to the sod.
  • In 1984 the first Kiddie Tractor Pull was held on a Friday night.
  • In 1984 on Monday there was a "Super Cheerleading Contest".
  • In 1985, the first Cake Auction of champion cakes of Floral Hall.
  • In 1988 with the elmination of the Sunday fair, the opening was held on Monday rather than Tuesday. The schools let out all week for the fair.
  • In 1988 membership tickets were $10.00 and Jr. Fair members till paid $1.00 weekly admission.  It cost $3.00 a day to ride the amusement rides.
  • In 1989 camper fees were raised to $40.00.
  • In 1990 membership tickets were raised to $12.00, season tickets to $10.00 and Junior Fair passess to $2.00.

Getting to the Fair!

SHUTTLE FOR OFF GROUNDS PARKING - (No Handicapped)

There will be parking and shuttle service available at IGA Plus parking lot. SHUTTLES will begin daily running at noon on Tuesday, and continue through the balance of the fair. You may choose to ride the shuttle rather than the general parking. There will be no charge for the shuttle. Shuttle service will end at approximately 11:00 pm. nightly.

Get directions or view a map