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Iowa History Daily: September 24 - First Clay County Fair

Iowa History Daily: On September 24, 1918, the first ever Clay County Fair opened in Spencer. The largest agricultural exposition in North America, the Clay County Fair regularly brings in over 300,000 visitors annually to enjoy Iowa’s largest county fair.

During 1917, the Clay County Fair Association came together and started planning for an event which would serve as Iowa’s largest county fair during its inaugural run. Two ornamental entrance portals featuring arches and towers rose over the fairgrounds as locals prepared for an event which would see over 30,000 in attendance and $16,000 in gate receipts (roughly $325,325.56 today).

With the initial fair a success, plans came together for continued improvement. In the second year, over 1,200 pork producers alone showed up to exhibit. As crowds continued to swell, officials determined a grander grandstand would be necessary. A new, steel and concrete grandstand costing $45,000 and seating 5,000 people comfortably soon rose on the fairgrounds.

Over the decades the Clay County Fair continued to welcome massive crowds while ensuring future success through construction projects aimed at improving amenities. Today, the fair spreads out over 35 square blocks and features carnivals, agricultural exhibits, entertainment, and many other wonders. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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