SANDWICH FAIR HISTORY
129 Years of Rich History–A long Fair Tradition
Local livestock group purchased 20 acres of land and the first Sandwich Fair was held in September.
Improvements were made that included a large dining hall, a regulation racetrack, horse barns, exhibit buildings, and a grandstand.
During this decade, attendance grew to over 22,000. Sandwich residents were encouraged to have the city “looking nice” to give a good opinion.
1920-1929Electricity to the grounds made it possible for the fair to continue into the night. Some years there were fireworks every night. Fairgoers competed in horseshoes and ballgames.
1910-1919Entertainment included automobile and motorcycle races, flying machines, and high-wire acts. A manure spreader displayed by Sandwich Mfg. Co. was a popular exhibit.
1930-1939For the first time, commercial exhibitors paid for a space. Hard times resulted in smaller crowds at the fair. For the 50th Anniversary in 1937, buildings were painted white and “put in first-class” shape.
1940-1949Visitors were entertained with a three-ring circus and vaudeville performers. Special exhibits were Victory Gardens and camera club photos. Poultry shows for the entire U.S. were suspended by Dept. of Agriculture.
1950-1959Rides were 9 cents on Children’s Day; gate admission was 60 cents; a season ticket was $2. Improvements included a new midway with lighting and improved women’s restrooms.
1960-1969Fay’s chicken and pork chop BBQ was introduced. Attendance increased when hundreds came on Burlington steam train excursion from Chicago on Saturday and Sunday; round trip fare was $4.65.
1970-1979Racing ostriches returned to entertain the crowds. The decade saw record attendances of near 136,000.
1980-1989Fair Board President Carlton “Dutch” Hough received Outstanding County Fair Award and State Fair Person of the Year Award. A decade of improvements: copper water lines installed in the buildings, blacktop by front and west gates.
1990-2000Twenty new trees planted each year. Entertainments included first old time fiddle contest, bands at Ag Land Stage, and WGN noon shows. Fairgrounds had grown to 170 acres.
2000-2011Sandwich Fair is known for the longevity of its vendors. Log Cabin, famous for homemade pie, (operated by United Church of Sandwich) has been at the fair 75 years; St. Paul's Catholic Church stand for 50 years, Otto's train for 55 years, Open Door Rehabilitation Center for 45 years, FFA Zoo for 40 years, King & Sons Monuments for 90 years. Admission is $8. Thirty-two acres was added for parking. A new main office was built, and a Fair Museum opened.
Information extracted from The Sandwich Fair Since 1888 published by The Sandwich Fair Association, Inc. 2001.
This building is a must see for anyone who is a collector or anyone who is fascinated by unusual collections.
You will find lots of things people enter on exhibit like: antiques, nature collections, carnival glass, porcelain dolls, belt buckles and so many more categories of collections. There are four pages of categories in the premium lists (pages 83 to 87) and you will surely find a collection that knocks your socks off. It’s a wonderful blast-from-the-past museum!
The present Collections Building (#52 on the map) was opened in 1997. Prior to this, displays were exhibited in the Arts and Crafts Building.
Have a collection you want to show off? Check out the Premium Lists to see the exhibitor categories and how to enter your collections in this year's fair.
Sandwich Fair Historic Collector's Pins
Check out the historic collectors pins gallery with pins dating back to 1993 (yes, that is historic).
Get your 2016 Fair Pin souvenir. (visit the souvenirs page)
Visit the photo gallery to see a sample of all the great things going on at the fair. Rides, Buttons The Clown, the horse show, draft horse pulls, truck and tractor pulls, demolition derby, Mom's first place pie, and harness racing. See the people behind the scenes at the Sandwich Fair
Sandwich Fair Education Committee
The Sandwich Fair Activity Book for children gives kids exposure to a wonderful time at the fair. Children on school buses are met at the ticket booths and given the free activity books for things to do while visiting the Fair and later at school or at home. Visits to each of the six designated places around the grounds are a fun way for children and others to see highlights of the fair. After collecting a stamp at each of the stations, a small prize is given at the Gazebo for the adventure. Each book has a theme. See the activity book for this year.
Each year more children participate in the free adventure around the Fair. The booklets may also be picked up at any of the designated places where they are stamped. The featured animal in the activity book each year is the same as the small stuffed animal that is sold at the Gazebo.
Sandwich Fair History Museum
Sandwich Fair History Museum
Come visit the Fair Museum while at the Fair. It is located west of Otto's train and south of the windmill in the 1892 dark green Secretary's Office. As one of the oldest buildings on the grounds, it is appropriate that it houses the Museum. The Museum is only open during the Fair Wednesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
On display is a timeline from the beginning of the Fair until 2000, items that were given away or sold at past fairs, and items from a different area collector each year.
The museum is a stop for Activity Book stamping and has DVD's running on a TV from years past. New items are continually being donated, so there is always something new to view and friendly hosts to greet fairgoers and help answer questions.
We are excited to have you stop by and visit us!