WARSAW — The county fair is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The first Kosciusko County Community Fair first was held 100 years ago, in 1916. The fair was in downtown Warsaw in the beginning.
“It was more like a circus,” said Steve Trump, a former fair board member and past president. “There was more animals and less rides.”
Over the years, the fair grew from a small town event into a county-wide celebration. In 1938, the fair moved to its present location on East Smith Street in Warsaw.
“It was bare ground. It use to be 90 acres,” he said of the land. Now, the fair owns 52 acres.
Back in those days, there were 4-H exhibits, little merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels, said Trump, who grew up in Kosciusko County.
“Back in those times, they had a rodeo, showed 4-H animals but there were no buildings only food tents,” he said.
Trump remembers coming to the fair as a little boy. He has very vivid memories of fair life. He showed horses, while in 4-H, and later so did his children and grandchildren.
Trump said there was a lot of tents. “It was the old fair,” he recalled.
The permanent buildings were added gradually. The food stands are the oldest buildings on the fairgrounds, stated Trump.
The late 1950s and early 1960s brought in the bigger rides. “The ferris wheel and the tilt-a-wheel are what I remember,” said Trump.
Trump joined the fair board in 1994. In the 1990s, the fair struggled financially, he said. But the fair board was able to get some good, solid financial advice and got back on its feet.
When he first joined the fair board, Trump said it had 15 members, which is about the same as today’s board.
Each year, 30,000 people attend the fair. Trump said it’s because it is a tradition.
“It’s something that gets carried down,” he smiled.