This year’s 165 annual edition of the Vermont State Fair in Rutland will run through Sept. 11. Back in the fall of 1846, the first Rutland fair took place in a field near Castleton with Frederick Button being the first president of the Rutland County Agricultural Society.
After moving around Rutland County for a few years, the Rutland fair grew closer to Rutland City, sometimes setting up on land owned by John Cain (now Grove Street north of Crescent) or on the old Baxter Estate.
In 1859 the first Rutland Fair was held at it's present location. The present land was known as the Rutland County Park back then. There is a provision in a deed that there must be a agricultural fair held on said property once a year.
The first year the fair was closed was in 1917 when the State of Vermont closed the fair with all other public gatherings due to an epidemic of influenza.
The fairgrounds belongs to the RCAS, but if they do not have a fair, it would convert to the original heirs and assigns of the original subscribers.
The Rutland Railyard was built in 1849 and after a few years began putting extra cars on to bring people from all over Vermont and western New York.
The fair started as a one day event, moved to a two day event and in 1893 the fair was held for three days. By 1933 the fair was a six day event.
In 1926 the Rutland Fair was rated the third largest in New England and among the top 10 in the nation.
The discussion of pedestrian and automobile tunnels were first discussed in 1915. The auto tunnel was built in 1991 and the pedestrian tunnel was built in 1992.
On June 17, 1939, a great fire completely destroyed the grandstand. The reconstruction of the grandstand took just 40 days.
In 1942, with the United States in conflict with World War II, the fair was only a one day event.
Two cattle barns burned during the 1964 fair.
The summer of 1970 brought the fire of the Arts and Crafts Building (now the location of the Presidents Building).
In 1972 the old Rutland Fair became officially the Vermont State Fair.
The Fair has had top name entertainers such as Loretta Lynn, Buck Owens, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Conway Twitty, Ronnie Milsap, Charlie Pride, Winona Judd, and others. Check out this year’s star performers (see the Green Mountain Outlook’s special fair program).
Why not take your mind off of Irene’s flood damage? Go and enjoy the 2011 Vermont State Fair.