Centennial of Jasper County Fair will feature dozens of free opportunities and fair-filled history

Centennial of Jasper County Fair will feature dozens of free opportunities and fair-filled history

The Jasper County Public Library has a Jasper County Fair historical display at the Rensselaer Branch. Go check it out!

  • Indiana created the State Board of Agriculture in 1851, and agricultural associations have put on local fairs since the 1830s.
  • The first Jasper County Fair Association’s fair was August 31 to September 5, 1925. 
  • The property that the Jasper County Fairgrounds is located in was originally purchased from the Jasper County Farm. 
  • The 1925 officers of the JCPA were Henry Toben, President, C.M. Dewey, V.P. Dr. A.P. Rainer, Treasurer, and Ae.E. Wallace, Secretary. 
  • President Toben continued as president until 1947. 
  • The early years of the fair included the Boys and Girls Club, which later became 4-H in the early forties. 
  • The first fair queen picture on the Jasper County Fair book  cover was Sharon Schreeg. 
  • For the one hundredth year Jasper County Fair book, Morgan Van Meter will be on the cover. 
  • Since 1966, the Saddle Club has been a food stand in the Horse and Pony area.
  • The Jasper County Fair Association has 160 members on board, and the 100th Anniversary Committee consists of 22 members.  

The one hundredth Jasper County Fair will kick off July 20 and attendees to this historic event can expect classic grandstand events such as the demo derby and monster trucks, a variety of great acts on the free stage, enticing food vendors, rides and 4-H animals. Don’t miss the free ice cream at the opening ceremony on July 20 at 5 p.m. or forget to purchase your piece of historic memorabilia

Grandstand events

The grandstand events include a truck and tractor pull, mud drags, ATV barrel racing, D&D rodeo, micro wrestling, demolition derby, and monster trucks. 

Free entertainment and things to do 

There will also be entertainment around the fairgrounds, such as the Lewey E. Comedy Circus, Bob’s Bumpy Barrels, the All Star Barnyard Review, pig races, a petting zoo, City Sidewalk Stompers, Indiana Carvings, First Bite Fishing, Mistervibe Hypnotist, and Those Funny Little People, who were featured on America’s Got Talent.

  • 45 RPM on July 20 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Finley River Boys on July 21 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Silly Safari on July 21 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Twisty Kristy on July 21 from 2-5 p.m.
  • Melly Pop on July 21 at 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.
  • Daniel Lusk on July 21 at 1:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
  • The Nerd Band on July 22 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Jake Dodds on July 23 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Warranted on July 24 at 7:00 p.m.
  • The Flying Toasters on July 25 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Mellencougar on July 26 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Party Foul on July 27 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Rob Thompson on July 27 at 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m, and 2:00 p.m.

There will be children’s games going on in the Commercial Building each evening, alongside an adult scavenger hunt where the winner will get a prize. The hint for the day will be displayed in the 100-year booth. There will be a prize for the winner.

The Carnival Company will have rides open daily from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for a $25 wristband. If an attendee brings two canned goods on Tuesday, they get $2 off their $25 ticket price. On Friday, the carnival will be open until midnight. 

Eat up 

 Most food vendors open up at 5 p.m., with a few openings earlier in the day dependent on personal schedules. Most are open approximately until 10 p.m. 

  • Pearlowyn’s Eatery
  • Withers Concessions
  • Home Grown Smoked-Pulled Pork
  • Gourmet Nachos & More
  • Georgie Marie Cookies
  • PSI IOTA XI Sorority
  • Farm Bureau
  • C&E Concessions
  • MT Calvary Church
  • Momma Donna’s Freeze Dried Candy
  • Bubble Shack
  • Dawns Concessions
  • Starr Concessions
  • The Local Lemon
  • Ford Foods
  • Gutwein Corn
  • Boneheadz Barbq
  • Monon Meats
  • Travelin Tom’s Coffee

The opening ceremony

 The centenary of the Jasper County Fair is underway with merchandise, memorabilia, and speakers to show for it. The fair will kick off during an opening ceremony in the Show Arena on Saturday, July 20, at 5 p.m. and many will attend: There will be opening remarks from Russ Martin. There will be a VFW/American Legion Presentation, an invocation by Kenin Smith, and the National Anthem will be sung by John Vincent. State Representative Kendell Culp will speak. Steve Jordan will present a 100-year review. Veteran Themes for each branch of Service as well as Veteran Justin Bednar – Army Wounded Warrior.  An ice cream social will follow the opening ceremony, “just as was done in years gone by at country gatherings,” said Vicki Nagel, Fair Board Chair and Webmaster. The ice cream will be free, also in the Show Arena. Dean Putt will also be in attendance,  and there will be a special presentation for him. He is 100 years old, and has been attending the fair ever since he can remember. There will also be tethered balloon rides, if weather permits. 

Sunday Fun Day

Sunday is what’s known as “Sunday Fun Day,” according to Nagel, and it’s also known as family day. The Fire Department will have fire trucks with demonstrations on fire safety, and other activities. There will be a sheep herding demonstration in the Retired Iron Club building, and foam play in the parking lot north of the Community Building. There will also be a parade on Sunday at noon through the fairgrounds with judges to determine the winner. There will also be a living statue, crafts in the Community Building, puppet making, Jasper/Newton Choir, a church service, Weed Whacker Pullers (Retired Iron), Pioneer Village Updates, and more.

The final day of the fair

There will be fireworks at dusk on Saturday, July 27, to commemorate the centennial. 

Nagel said the fair is almost generational, as she has seen many families, generation through generation, returning to the fairgrounds. She even ran into a couple every year who were celebrating their anniversary (their seventieth is the latest one she can recall.)

She said the fair board turns into somewhat of a family, and it takes a lot of different things to put all of this together. 

For those interested in learning more about the fair, they can visit its website or its facebook page. They can also pick up a fair brochure in the Jasper County Extension Office. 

100-year activities

100-year merchandise will be available for purchase that has a 100-year logo that was designed with public input. Merchandise will include T-shirts, wristbands, tumblers, totes, hats, and water bottles. Those interested will be able to make a purchase at a booth in the commercial building, or by pre-ordering on the fair’s website. The Fair Board will also be selling a 100-year cookbook, featuring recipes that the board has received from the community. 

The one hundredth year anniversary of the fair has brought many memories for those who are digging through their or their family’s fair-filed past. A citizen found a dress her mother made that went to a state competition in either 1931 or 1932. The oldest photograph received so far has been from 1932. Not only is the fair hosting an oldest photo contest, they’ve also been working with Judy Kanne, who runs the historical society in Rensselaer (and who is also on the one hundredth year committee) to put together the facts and figures for the historic event. She’s looked through fair board records, conversations with community members that could direct her in the right place, and old fair books. All entries for the oldest photo, any memorabilia to include, or family stories are due on July 1. 

 The oldest photo that the Jasper County Fair Association has received so far is from 1932. A citizen also found a dress her mother made that went to a state competition in either 1931 or 1932.  The Community Building will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. everyday, but the building will not be open until 5:00 p.m. on July 20. 

“It takes a lot of eyes and a lot of bodies,” said Nagel, mentioning about all it takes to put the week of the fair together. She’s been involved with the fair for 31 years. 

See you on the grounds!

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