Kittson County Fall Fair

by

Duane Olson

 

Boy does the kitchen smell good. Mom's just putting thefinishing touch on the brownies she's entering in the fair. Dad's in thebarn grooming the horse. Sis is upstairs putting the last stitches in thehem of her dress and I'm putting the final touches on my grain display. Today is entry day and in an hour or two we will be loaded and on our wayto the fair.

This scene has taken place in many families of St. Vincentfor many years. The St. Vincent Fall Fair started in 1889. It was conductedby the St. Vincent Union Industrial Association. Until a few years ago,the 4-H clubs have used it to put on lots of displays.

Livestock and poultry were housed at the fair for onlyone day. The grounds were equipped with an industrial arts building andanother building for displays called Reid Hall.

In 1959, on the fair's 75th anniversary, a new exhibitionhall was built. Its measurements were 40 by 80 feet. This hall still standsin St. Vincent.

Carnivals weren't brought to the fair until 1934, but theyhad great success with them so they planned to have them for many more years.

The 30th annual St. Vincent Fall Fair was held Sept. 17and 18, 1914. The St. Vincent New Era and the Kittson County Record publishedin St. Vincent on Friday, September 25 listed the premium winners. Horseswere at the head of the list. There were eight classes of horses and onemule class, also classes of cattle and swine. Each class had its own judgeswho came from Emerson, Manitoba; Pembina, North Dakota; and Lancaster, Minnesota. There were first and second place winners in each class.

The culinary department was similar to that of 1972. Jarsof canned fruits and vegetables, plates of all kinds of baked goods coveredthe tables tempting everyone.

The fine arts department featured oil paintings, stencils,and pyrography pieces on wood.

Down through the years and until the fair closed, it hashad educational exhibits. In 1914, the exhibits consisted of mechanicaldrawings, crayon sketches, construction work, pencil sketches, maps of Europe,water color work by children under 14 and water color work done by thoseover, compositions and essays on growing corn.

There was also a miscellaneous department. This consistedof potted plants, cupped flowers, collections of pressed flowers and curios.

Special prizes were given in 1914. The Burpee Seed Companygave a special prize for the best display of vegetables grown from BurpeeSeeds. Also special prizes were given to the best exhibits of fruits andvegetables packed in economy jars. The St. Vincent and Humboldt PublicSchools have had entries in the fair down through the years. They usuallyconsisted of work done by the students.

In 1972, the St. Vincent and Humboldt people were all encouragedto make as many entries as possible in the fair. This was closed for thelast few years. If you would have been there, you would have seen peoplemeeting old friends and chatting over a cup of coffee and something to eat. Many entries were made in the various departments. Of course, there wereno animals because these classes have been closed for the last few years. When September of 1973 comes around, the St. Vincent Fall Fair will bemissed.

 

Bibliography

Fiftieth Anniversary Number, Kittson County Enterprise

 

Lapp, Lillian, St. Vincent, MN, Interview, January 1973. SIZE=+1>Lapp, Lillian, St. Vincent, MN, Interview, January 1973.