The first Fair held in Fayette County was before World War I, and was a flower and Industrial fair which was sponsored by the La Grange Casino Gesellschaft. This was a small fair, but as it became more popular it outgrew the grounds and the building where it was held.
A meeting was held on January 3, 1924, to create the La Grange Fair Association whose purpose was to encourage agriculture and horticulture, and to maintain public fairs and the exhibition of stock and farm products.
The first association sold stock and had 40 members. Its president was H.W.F. Meyer. Since the Fair was growing, a suitable place on which to hold the event was needed. Eighty-one acres was purchased from Alex Von Rosenberg. The annual event is still held on this site which is now owned by the City of La Grange. The land boasts one of the most beautiful views in Fayette County. To the west is the Colorado Valley with green meadows and the Colorado River winding along. To the south, the City of La Grange and the historical Monument Hill can be seen.
Many hours were spent in the early years to get the fairgrounds and buildings built up to where a fair could be held. Some of the early directors in charge were: A.J. Woehl, building contractor for the grounds; C.G. Robson, in charge of the fence and water well committee. Chairman of the concessions and amusements committee was Jake Alexander. M.F. Granville was appointed to see to it that the main buildings were erected. George Hausler was in charge of the roadways leading up to the fairgrounds. William Hermes was the chairman of the horseracing committee and also the construction of the race track. The first gateman was C.G. Franz and B.F. Harigel was publicity chairman. Also, everyone in town helped to make the first fair a good one.
The first building was the Exhibition Hall which had a dirt floor and house just about all exhibits including livestock. The Flower House was next to the Exhibit Hall and held all floral exhibits. The Home Demonstration Kitchen was an old army barracks, and first served as a shed and barn before being turned into a kitchen.
The Fair has come a long way since its beginning in 1927. Many improvements have been made to keep up with the ever increasing attendance each year. The Fair was originally held in October, but was later changed to the permanent date of the Labor Day Weekend. Also, the name had been changed to the Fayette County Country Fair. This was done in order to give the folks a bit of old time flavor back into the Fair, but has since changed its name back to Fayette County Fair.
During the years as the Fair grew, many buildings have been added to keep up with the demand for more exhibits. The German-Czech Mart now boasts about 18 booths which serve a variety of delicious foods. These booths are all operated by local organizations in the County and their profits are used for scholarships and worthy causes.
The livestock and poultry buildings have been filled to capacity and other buildings were built to house the open heifer show. With the ever increasing exhibits of sheep, swine, and chickens, more buildings may be added.
The Flower Exhibit Hall was then erected and is always housed with many beautiful plants.
The bandstand had been enlarged to take care of the top-rate entertainment that is brought to the Fair each year, in which additional seating was then added to accommodate the huge crowds.
A large parade is held on Saturday morning and draws many entries from all over the State of Texas.
The Optimist Ball Park was once used for the Queen’s Contest. This event has proved to be one of the more popular attractions during the Fair. The contest is currently held at the Marge Rosenberg Stage.
The carnival with its many rides and concessions have added a great deal to the Fair.
The Agriculture building was built in 1974 to house the agriculture exhibits and the homemade goods, culinary, needlework, art and crafts and educational booths.
The Green Thumb organization has done much in the growth of the fair grounds. They built the Indian Lookout Tower, the restrooms, and many other buildings on the grounds. They are responsible for the up-keep and the painting of the buildings and tables on the grounds.
The Fair Grounds has always been open to the public for picnics. In 1935, the City of La Grange purchased the grounds for a City Fair Park.
The City of La Grange owns the grounds and the Fayette County Fair Association has the grounds leased from them and maintains the buildings. Money raised by the Association during the Fair is put back into the Fairgrounds in the form of new buildings and improvements to the grounds. This all makes for a better Fair for you to enjoy.
It was not an easy job for the people involved in the 1920’s, and it is not an easy job now for the directors to keep improving and adding to the Fair, which last year had an attendance of about 50,000 people.
The Fair has come a long way since its beginning. It is considered one of the best Fairs in the State of Texas.
The Board of Directors is composed of 12 directors and 15 honorary directors and three lifetime honorary directors.
Without the help of many of the people in Fayette County, a Fair of this size could not be realized.
Thank you – the people of Fayette County – your help makes it all possible.