Published On: Thu, Jan 30th, 2014

Fair is a big part of city’s history

RANDOLPH —  The Randolph Fair has played an important part in the history of the city since the Randolph Fair Association was formed in 1904.

A fair in Randolph has been an annual event for the last 110 years with the exception of the three years during World War II, 1943, 1944 and 1945, when it was deemed necessary to postpone the activities.

Joedy Sellon has attended a lot of Randolph Fairs over the last 82 years.

“I have lived in Randolph all my life. As a young kid, I looked forward to going to the Fair. The livestock, the rides, games – it was all fun,” Sellon said. “The Junior Fair – that is what it was back then – was the highlight of the summer.”

Sellon still takes in the Randolph Fair almost every year.

“I always go down and see the livestock and we go to the barbecue. If we are here, I still help by selling tickets,” Sellon said. “There aren’t as many people at the fair as there used to be.”

Sellon knows it is hard to get enough people to help at the fair and the attendance has been going down.

“Every one is so busy. A same small group of people do all the work to put the fair on every year,” Sellon said. “The fair isn’t as important to the kids any more. They are involved with so many things. The kids are busy every weekend and all during the summer.”

Sellon said he would hate to have the Randolph Fair be discontinued.

Neil Lackas has a lot of memories of the Randolph Fair, as he has participated and helped out at the fair for many years.

“One of the main reasons to hold the Randolph Fair was to give the 4-H kids a chance to show their animals. They were able to get used to showing their animals and get a little bit of experience under their belt before the Cedar County Fair,” Lackas said. “For 40-some years I helped set up the pens for the livestock and the rings for the pigs.”

The Randolph Fair used to include a carnival, but they are no longer able to get a carnival to come in, according to Lackas.

“The fair is a lot work but I would hate to see it go away,” Lackas said.

The home economic exhibits and the livestock show have always been an important feature at the fair.

The livestock premium/prize list for the first Randolph Fair included a set of silver knives and forks, a two-volume set of Shakespeare, a copy of the Life of William McKinley and an oak rocking chair.

The 1905 event featured horse races and was listed as a “hummer of a fair” drawing about 5,000 people.

The Fair of 1931 was a joint effort of the local high school F.F.A Chapter and the Lions Club. The event was called the Junior Fair. The tenth Junior Fair held in 1941 was very successful.

There were 48 baby beef, 130 pigs and 30 colts entered in the livestock show in 1941.

In 1985, the Fair was a three-day event with a stock show, antique tractor pull, crafts show, carnival, softball, horseshoe tournaments, square dancing and a community barbecue.

Events during the 2013 Fair, along with the livestock show and home economic exhibits, included the Dueling Pianos, teen dance, street dance, mud volleyball tournament, barbecue cooking contest, antique tractor display, three-man scramble at Randolph Community Golf Course, fun run/walk, free swimming, a used book sale and a car wash.

Food choices included a Community Barbecue, Senior Citizen Luncheon and a Fireman’s Omelet Breakfast.