Friday, September 5, 2014

The York Fair, an autumn tradition dating to 1765

The York Fair is here!

The fall celebration, which traces its roots to 1765, begins today. That means goats and games of chance and whoopie pies and chickens and rides and butter sculptures and stuffed animals and funnel cakes and "I Got It" and 4-H contests and skee-ball and clowns and cows and many, many, many fried things.

And did I mention goats? Lots of goats.

It's great!

Here's an advertisement, courtesy of the Library of Congress, for the York Fair from 100 years ago. This is from the September 25, 1914, edition of the Harrisburg Telegram, a newspaper that existed from 1879 to 1948.

It's neat to compare the differences and similarities between the 1914 and 2014 editions of the York Fair. (Hint: It's more expensive now.)

As you can see, the fair was held later in the fall a century ago, from October 5th through 9th. It advertised that it was the "LARGEST TWENTY-FIVE CENT FAIR IN AMERICA" and that there was "NOTHING CHEAP BUT THE PRICE."

Attractions included fireworks; Fink's Comedy Circus; the Lozano Troup ("largest and greatest troup of Live Wire performers in the world"); Wallace's Famous Singing Orchestra of Cleveland, Ohio; the Florence Hursley Troup of phenomenal American Acrobats; the Flying Herberts ("the greatest original aerial act ever devised"); the Four Marvelous Mells ("aerial ring novelty"); The Frederick's Comedy Foot Jugglers and Acrobats; and other entertainers.

This year's fair, for entertainment, has Lady Antebellum and Hunter Hayes.

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In a related note, my #FridayReads suggestion is 1996's Pennsylvania Fairs and Country Festivals, by Craig Kennedy, which includes a short chapter on the York Fair. It's a treasure trove of tidbits about the state's festivals.

Finally, here are some links to previous Papergreat posts related to fairs...

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