Fair time! All across the country fairs
are held each autumn. Whether it is a small
county fair or large state fair, these events bring people together to
celebrate agricultural achievements and the successful harvest. They are an important part of farm culture.
rooted in agriculture, fairs are intended to educate and entertain. There are exhibit
buildings and livestock barns to wander through. Show rings, rodeos, tractor pulls, concerts
and a variety of events provide amusement.
There is the midway, with the Ferris wheel and a multitude of whirling,
spinning rides; games of chance and prizes to win; and corn dogs, kettle corn
and cotton candy to enjoy! The sights, sounds,
tastes, textures and smells of the fair offer something for all of the senses.
first mention of a local county fair appeared in the April 17,
1903 edition of the Sylvan Valley News.
The idea resurfaced several times over the next 14 years but it was not
until October 31, 1917 that the first Transylvania County Fair was held.
were awarded in the areas of livestock, farm products, fancy work and culinary. Livestock categories included horses, mules,
beef and dairy cattle, swine, sheep and poultry. Farm products were corn, oats, rye, soybeans, apples, butter, honey and a variety of vegetables. Fancy work was comprised of crocheted,
tatted, embroidered, quilted and sewn goods.
Culinary included preserves and canned goods, as well as bakery
items. Prizes were given at both the
adult and student level. There were also
educational exhibits prepared by students.
Students competed in the 100 yard dash, broad jump and high jump in two
age groups, as well.
county fair was held for three years before it fell to the wayside. During the 1920s there was talk of reviving
the fair but it was not until agricultural teachers and students from both
Brevard and Rosman High schools held student fairs in 1930 that the community
got behind the idea again. Successful
county fairs were held in five of the next six years.
1937 it was decided that a fair would not be held due to the lack of suitable
fair grounds. The Transylvania Times
suggested the county home farm in Selica as a location. Fair grounds were never established though.
|Mary Jane Howard of the Cedar Mountain community won the
grand prize for her French style green beans at the 1977
Transylvania County Fair. She also won several red and
nearly 40 years before the idea of a full-scale county fair was once again
purposed. The Transylvania Bicentennial
County Fair was held at Camp Straus August 23-28, 1976. The event was a big success and a county fair
was held for at least three more years.
1994 the North Carolina Mountain State Fair has been held at the WNC Agricultural
Center where Transylvania County is typically well represented each September. The North Carolina State Fair has been held
in Raleigh each year, with a few exceptions, since 1853.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected]