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Oldest County Fair in Iowa

7/12/13 To conclude this week's travel across Iowa to county fairs, the Iowa 4-H Foundation Executive Directior, Kris Fish Kuhlmann, made a stop at the Lee County Fair. Little did we know, that this fair is actually Iowa's oldest county fair, founded in 1841!

Lee County has a very strong emphasis & presence upon livestock.  They are proud to say that they were the first in Iowa to showcase such competition and create "learn by doing."  Like all county fairs, heavily dependent upon volunteers, Frank & Betty are significant contributors to make it all happen.

Speaking of volunteers, they have a Fair Board with a very visible presence... not hard to find in their matching shirts.  Director Lindsey & President Brian were extremely cordial and welcoming.  So were the rest of them at the hog show. 
Living history farm replica
They have a beautifully modern youth center, which plays host to year-round 4-H festivities.  The same goes for the grandstand and weekly races/entertainment.  They have one "kids day" at the fair where their living history farms-style replicas are bustling with activity.  Otherwise, their fair activity rests mostly in the historical exhibits building and livestock shows.
Commodity producers take their turn for a day in the food building, marketing food stand items boasting of their best sellers.  

The livestock photo set-up is top-notch and they won the award for best-on-state!

Make sure to check out our other blog post, County Fair Tour, to read about our stops at the Marshall (Central Iowa Fair), Cedar, Iowa and Davis County Fairs.

If we didn't make it to your county fair, don't worry! We will be out and about over the next two weeks. If you would like us to come for a specific event at your fair, let us know. Send your information to Brooke Young at You can also share your county fair photos and stories with us!


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