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A Century Of Celebration

Thayer County Fair turns 100

Join the Thayer County Ag Society as they celebrate 100 years of bringing together local communities to highlight workmanship, talent, and outstanding ability in the valley of the Little Blue River. The Thayer County Fair starts Thursday, Aug. 9 and runs through Saturday, Aug. 11. Pre-fair 4-H contests have already come and gone, but items and animals entered in those divisions will be on display for all to see during the three-day expo.

The American county fair came into existence in the early nineteenth century behind the efforts of agricultural reformers with a desire to promote modern farming. This desire led to the formation of agricultural societies who quickly organized local venues to highlight livestock, farm machinery and new and improved techniques for growing crops. Popularity of the annual shows soon had organizers adding entertainment venues such as parades and special grandstand shows.

Thayer County joined the movement in 1887 holding the county fair in Hebron on the north side of the Little Blue River adjacent to the 13th St. bridge. Due to frequent flooding in that area the fair was moved a mile west of the Thayer County courthouse on land west of the river. This area also proved subject to flooding and at the turn of the century, the Thayer County Agricultural and Mechanical Society abandoned the celebration altogether.

In 1912, publisher of the Deshler Rustler newspaper, E.J. Mitchell, decided to reactivate the fair. His experience included membership on the board of directors for the Nebraska State Fair and he felt Thayer County would only benefit from the county celebration. Since Mitchell lived in Deshler and because of the flooding issues in Hebron, he concentrated locating the fair to his home town.

Then, in 1913, officials of the Deshler Corn Show and Livestock Exhibit filed a petition in the county clerk’s office for the organization of a county fair board, thus bringing about the Thayer County Agricultural Society.

Work began immediately with the purchase of land on the south edge of Deshler and using temporary buildings for the livestock show and the school building as an exhibition hall, the Thayer County Fair was once again up and running.

Today, following 100 consecutive years of existence, the Ag Society continues to bring the county’s 11 communities under one “roof” to celebrate a rich history of lives spent together.

As in years past, the Thayer County Fair is sure to have something for everyone, and as always, the Hebron Journal-Register will be there to see it happen. Also, as in years past, we’ll publish lots of pictures and all the 4-H results in our annual fair issue Aug. 22.

So head on over to the county fair this week and see what the Thayer County Ag Society has cooked up for 100 years of celebrating “the good life” in southeast Nebraska.

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