The Vermont State Fair will return this September to the county fairgrounds for its 162nd year.
The event will include livestock judging, arts and crafts exhibits, and grand stand shows. The most exciting of all the games of chance, rides and the wide variety foods.
The state fair has an historic past. The Rutland County Fair developed into the Vermont State Fair in 1855. Preparations and improvements were made to the fairgrounds to accommodate the thousands of people that would flock to Rutland to attend. At that time, the fairgrounds were located on the east side of Grove Street, some sources indicate this field was situated between Seabury Street and Williams Street.
In the summer of 1855, a maple-shaded seating structure was put in place faced eastward toward the mountains offering spectators a view of Killington and Pico. All the buildings that housed the animals and exhibits were in a grove of maples.
The fair ran from Sept. 11-13 and admission was a quarter. The railroad transported the wares and animals to the fair at no charge and passengers rode at half fare. The mayor and his marshals on horseback policed the fairgrounds. About 5,000 people were present for opening day, but 18,000 tickets were sold for the next day.
In April 1859 a local newspaper reported that several gentlemen had purchased 37 acres of land for a new fairgrounds team of more than 100 men worked on a trotting track with teams of horses to get the track ready.
The fourteenth fair, the first to be held at the new fairgrounds, was held on Oct. 5-6, 1859. Among other things the fair featured a plowing match and two trotting contests. In 1926 the Rutland Fair was rated the third largest in New England and among the top ten in the nation. On June 17, 1939, the great fire completely destroyed the grandstand. The reconstruction of the grandstand took just 40 days. n 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 fair will be held this year on Aug. 31st through Sept. 9 with a wide range of acts at the Pepsi Grandstand.