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Historically Fort Bend:
The Fort Bend County Fair


Broadside, 1st annual fair of the Fort Bend Agricultural and Horticultural Society, 5/30/1878

Broadside, 1st annual fair of the Fort Bend Agricultural and Horticultural Society, 5/30/1878

Fort Bend County has long been interested in celebrating and promoting the produce of its fields and pastures and in recognizing the skill of its citizens. On occasion, Fort Bend County folks held fairs, open to all, to show off their best livestock, needlework, and gardening expertise.

A broadside still exists from the first fair of the Fort Bend Agri & Horticultural Society held in Richmond on May 30, 1878. There is no evidence of the goings-on of the day or how long the tradition started that day was continued, if at all. However, the Texas Coaster from May 4, 1900 details another first county fair. This time, the festivities lasted for two days, were held at the public school yard and included a large parade, dances, music, and numerous exhibits of livestock, handwork, art, edibles and flowers. There was also an old fiddlers contest, a cake walk and addresses. The newspaper indicates that there was a movement at the time to create a permanent fair association and fairgrounds. How far this effort went in the ensuing years is unclear though it appears it was unsuccessful.

The Fort Bend County Fair as presently constituted began in 1933. It was inspired by a series of fairs held in Needville in the mid-to-late 1920s. The success of these community fairs encouraged leading citizens to expand the idea county-wide. The Fort Bend Fair Association was established in April 1933 and the site for the fair was purchased between Richmond and Rosenberg on Ave. H. Dr. Cecil Greer was President of the first fair with J. B. Fowler as Vice-President and Mart Cole as Secretary-Treasurer. The first fair held by the Association took place in October 1933. Activities included livestock and agricultural exhibits; carnival; floral, fine arts, needlework, educational and children’s exhibits; a rodeo; and three days of horse races.

The Fair has continued in much the same fashion adding concerts and other new entertainments. The only breaks in the schedule came during WWII when the fairgrounds were used to house German POWs and attentions were on the war effort. The fair is still held each fall, although at a different site, and the traditions of promoting Fort Bend agriculture and heritage while educating young and old remain as strong as ever.

 

The directors of the 1933 Fort Bend County Fair: (clockwise from top left) Mason Briscoe, Mart Cole, August Myers, Byron Fowler, C. O. Foerster, Jr., N. A. Bass, Joe A. Wessendorff, Cecil Greer, and George Dew.

The directors of the 1933 Fort Bend County Fair: (clockwise from top left) Mason Briscoe, Mart Cole, August Myers, Byron Fowler, C. O. Foerster, Jr., N. A. Bass, Joe A. Wessendorff, Cecil Greer, and George Dew.

 

Group of men on horseback, Fort Bend County Fair arena

Group of men on horseback, Fort Bend County Fair arena

Main building, old Fort Bend County fairgrounds

Main building, old Fort Bend County fairgroundszz

Arthur Schmidt and his Grand Champion fat barrow, 1950 Fort Bend County Fair.

Arthur Schmidt and his Grand Champion fat barrow, 1950 Fort Bend County Fair.

City of Rosenberg float, Fort Bend County Fair parade, undated.

City of Rosenberg float, Fort Bend County Fair parade, undated.

 

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