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Regarding the State Fair

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By Dick Perue

In a Feb. 1, 1905 article written for Wyoming Industrial Journal by noted Historian C. G. Coutant, founding of the Wyoming State Fair was described as thus:

The legislature at its last session created a board of state fair commissioners and authorized this board to establish a state fair with annual meetings to be held at Douglas.

The commission consists of five persons, including M. Jesurum of Douglas, M. R. Collins of Lusk, E. J. Bell of Laramie, H. L. Patton of Casper and Alex Donaldson Beckton of Sheridan County. They are to have direct charge of all matters relating to the management and control of this important state organization, and they are empowered to do each and every thing for carrying out the intentions of the law creating the State Fair Commission.

Section six of this act provides, “The board of state fair commissioners at such time as may be determined by them, shall hold annually, a state fair at Douglas in Converse County, and at such fair, all important products of the state shall he recognized, according to their merit, by premiums or rewards for excellence offered by the board of state fair commissioners out of a fund provided there for by the legislature at each biennial session thereof, but no person or persons receiving awards of excellence or merit shall collect the same until he or they furnish to the board of state fair commissioners, if requested to do so, complete history in writing of how the exhibit was produced, and all other information concerning the entry that would be of interest or benefit to the general public.”

Section 14 reads, “The sum of $10,000 is hereby appropriated out of the monies in the state treasury, for the purpose of improving the state fair grounds at Douglas and erecting buildings thereon, and for providing premiums and paying expenses of the state fair for the year 1905 and the year l906.”

The legislature was indeed very liberal toward the state fair which can be made to mean so much in the way of development of the state. The appropriation is ample and under the direction of the five solid citizens who have been selected to manage the affairs of the association it will be abundantly successful.

There are some points to which I desire to call attention in order to make the first state fair a success. It is impossible to make a fine exhibit of agricultural or mineral products unless fanners and miners become interested in preparing material for the display. 

They must be seen or written to months in advance of the time of holding the fair, and what is more, they must be induced to make a display.

There is another important thing which must be looked after early – a date must be selected for the fair so as not to clash with other important events in this or neighboring states. This should be the first thing attended to so it may get the benefit of being published in all the lists which are being sent out at this season of the year.

I hope the state fair this year will be a great success, and I see no reason why it may not be. Yet, it needs the help of all good citizens if we are to have creditable showing this fall. 

Every man and woman can do something to aid this exhibition and trust there will be no hesitation on the part of anyone who may be called upon to help.

The Wyoming State Fair web page notes, 

The Wyoming State Fair officially started in 1905 and is located in Douglas. The fair has always been an event showcasing the culture and heritage of Wyoming and has been a constant thread weaving through the fabric of Wyoming’s history. The Wyoming State Fair has been a gathering point for generations of families, while providing a quality educational experience and entertainment for all who have attended. The Wyoming State Fair is a celebration of all things Wyoming and showcases our pride in our heritage, agriculture, industry, youth, entrepreneurs, artists and more.” 

But, then, that’s for our next gathering.

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