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Postcard from the Past - Novel events at 1915 County Fair

Written by Dick Perue

Organizing, promoting and continuing a county fair in 1915 was a chore that fell to local businessmen, ranchers, government officials and supporters. In August of 1915 the hometown weekly newspaper ran the following article:

“Solidly backed by every business interest in the county and with the county government providing a fund that guarantees one of the most successful ventures of its kind ever promoted in the state, the Carbon County Fair will open on the sixth of September at Saratoga. A group of hard working enthusiasts...and directors of the fair association are leaving nothing undone to write the 1915 celebration big in the annals of county fair.

“Anticipating the fish fry on Cadwell’s Island, the first day of the fair 2,500 trout may be heard on the banks of the North Platte singing the song that all good fishes sing before they go down into the valley of dry bones. Eight men, arch enemies of the fish clan, anyone of whom considers himself disgraced if he comes to camp with less than the limit for a day’s catch, have engaged to whip the streams for three days preceding the opening of the carnival to supply fish for the crowd. A prize of $40 is posted for the man making the largest catch.”

The newspaper listed the anglers and noted:

“They are the artists selected to supply the crowd (with fried trout), and the wise boys say that no one will go to bed hungry that first day.

“Besides the regular menu of western sports and agriculture displays ranging from the largest steer in the world down to canary birds, the directors promise that the three days’ carnival will be replete with new features.

“A Better Baby show, which already has thrown Carbon County mothers into nights of sleepless worry lest their baby be not proclaimed the prettiest, pinkest one of the garden; Captain and Mrs. A. H. Hardy, firearms experts, who smash glass balls from a speeding car, plunk leaden pellets into a chalk white board until they come into being a Teddy Roosevelt smile, teeth and all, together with a troupe of side splitting entertainers and musicians will provide inspiration for all night dances. These are among the attractions that the managers of the fair promise Saratoga guests.

“Another phase of the 1915 exhibit that the directors are emphasizing is the fact that this is a county fair, not a neighborhood enterprise.

“Entrants from the Elk Mountain section, side by side with ranchmen and farmers from Snake River, will compete with residents of the North Platte Valley for the prizes that are being offered. And Saratoga herself, the soul of hospitality, is preparing to make everyone welcome.”