One of the most anticipated events of the summer begins today–the 171st Erie County Fair! Did you know that the fair was first held in Buffalo? Organized by the County Agricultural Society in 1820, the first fairgrounds were located at the waterfront, on Main Street near the Terrace. The annual exhibition stayed in the city until 1850; it was then held in various towns throughout the county. The town of Hamburg became the permanent home of the fair in 1868, and has been held every year except 1943, when it was postponed due to travel restrictions during World War II.
Below are sections of a publication from the 1871 fair which includes the premiums, or the prize amount awarded to entrants with the best livestock, produce, flowers, homemade goods, and other handmade items.
For more information on the history of the fair, check out a copy of Reflections of America’s County Fair : 1841-2000, by Ellen Taussig, 2001. (F129.E6 T28 2001).
Photo from 1956 premium list: 115th annual exhibition, Hamburg, New York, published by the Erie County Agricultural Society, 1956. Fair facts from Town of Hamburg sesquicentennial, 1812-1962 : reflections through the years : illustrated history of Hamburg, published by the Hamburg Sesquicentennial Committee, 1962.