From Albion Area Fair Website:The original history of this fair seems to have began with three smaller events. The Albion Ox Roast , the Cherry Hill Picnic, and a Rodeo Group that gathered south on Route 18 and Carter Road. The three activities seemed to unite in town together and develop into an event that would celebrate the end of W.W.II and our famous ?Biggest Little Fair Around?.
?The Albion Community Fair started when a group of farmers got together in a poolroom and saloon owned by Mr. Jenkens. It was located near the traffic light in town where the building still stands today. The farmers decided to have a Farmer?s Field Day. It was held on Marven Harrington?s Farm on Route 6N, east of Albion. The first Farmer?s Field Day was held in 1939. Some of the events were horse pulls, coon dog trials, and pony raffles. It took place at 9:00 a. m. and went all day. The Farmer?s Field Day was moved after two years at Harrington?s and it was then held at the Cherry Hill Picnic Grounds. When Charles S. Wiggins, an agricultural teacher, who taught at the Albion Area School District heard about the Farmers Field Day, he had an idea about involving school children. He suggested they bring their projects and exhibits to this event. Mr. Wiggins talked with the people involved in the Farmer?s Field Day at a meeting. The results of this meeting started the First Annual Albion Community Fair in 1945.? (Taken from Brent Crane?s article, ?The Albion Area Fair?, March, 1990).
The first president was Chester Harrington who held the office for ten years. The fair was held on September 20-22, 1945. The admission was free. The fairs required a booster button that one could buy from school children before the fair. The first fair book was 40 pages in length. The second fair cost fifty cents in 1946 until 1967 if purchased from the school children and a dollar at the gates. Local long time resident George Knapp Sr. and Jr. lead the first parade. The fair grew in popularity, prestige and attendance. The 10th Cavalcade was held at 2:00 on Thursday with marching units and floats along with prize ponies, horses and farm machinery. Following the parade, there was a horse show at the fairgrounds. The 1955 fair was also noted for it?s soaking rains.
The second fair president was Stanley Loomis who held office from 1955 to 1967. The cost of the 14th fair was 50 cents to attend in 1958. The commercial feature, was ?Peggy Gray Candies? of West and North Springfield presented by it?s owner Mrs. William Holiday. In 1960, the fair?s name was changed to it?s current name. In 1965, the first fair queen pageant was held. The winner was Linda Alexander. The fair queen pageant is still a great crowd pleaser. At that time, Tom Osborne was chairman of an executive committee which was formed to purchase the Dick Hull property. This 50 acres, which is west of the original park, was purchased on May 1, 1967 for $400.00 an acre. It was signed over to the Albion Boro. This added much needed parking space. In 1958, it was also suggested that it would be best to elect a local man as fair secretary. Robert Huston, a Penn State graduate, connected with the County Farm Agent, was named secretary and is the current secretary. He was also elected as a state director in 2003.
Harold Tom Osborne was the third fair president from 1968 to 1970. In 1969, Bob Smith owner of Empire Marine Enterprises did part of the construction of the new bridge over the creek . It would hold 17 tons of weight. The local skilled men worked cutting, welding and fabricating the ?I? for the bridge. It took many people to have the bridge ready for the fair. ?Skeeter? Pomeroy and Mr. Smith were some of those men involved. On August 25, 1970, the Thornton property was purchased at $1000.00 an acre.
Our fourth president was Neil Baxter. During his first year in office, the fair was extended to five days. Neil held office from 1971 to 1977. In 1971, John Williams of Cranesville and his mother, Mrs. Ed Williams attended the fair. John was the Gold Medal Archery Winner from the 1970 Olympics. Wednesday was John Williams Day at the fair. John and his parents gave demonstrations and answered questions regarding archery. Later the road that ran north and south from Cranesville to the school district complex was renamed John Williams Avenue in honor of the Gold Medal Champion. The Saddle Horse Barn was built in l971. Then in l972, the pony and 4-H barn were built north of the creek. The fair board also remodeled and enlarge the homemaking building that year. The next building in l973 was the Draft Horse Barn, followed by the Sheep and Goat Barn in 1975. The Hammet property was purchased in 1976. The Dairy Barn was put up in the same year.
Lauren ?Ike? Hill was our fifth president from 1978 to 1989. ?Ike? Hills first official fair was gripped with tragedy at the start of the Thursday afternoon parade. George Knapp Sr. was drug by his horse after it reared behind the local Post Office prior to the start of the annual parade. He died later that evening in the hospital. George Knapp had lead 33 parades and died just before the start of his 34th. The George Knapp Horse Arena was built in1981 in memory of this dedicated horseman.
During ?Ike? Hill?s second year in office, the 35th fair in 1981 was greeted with a huge flood. Quick work by lots of volunteers had to be done to remove the animals to drier ground. After the water receeded, truckloads of sawdust were brought in to cover the muddy fairgrounds. In 1979, the Beef Barn was constructed and in 1984, the Swine Barn was added to the long row of barns.
May 31,1985 brought a great change to the local area as an F4 tornado passed through the area shortly after 5:00 on Friday afternoon. The help and support from everyone and everywhere was very much appreciated. The community buried twelve victims from that storm and began to clean up the devastation that it left behind. The 1985 fair was the perfect place to thank the multitudes of people who reached out and helped the area rebuild. The Northwestern Elementary School and the Springfield Elementary School gathered at the grandstand area on Tuesday morning to open the fair. It was one of the largest opening days of the fair?s history. The school students released 1500 helium balloons with postcards attached saying, ?Albion Says Thanks?. It was covered on the Erie and Pittsburgh TV stations and was covered in many area newspapers. The postcards returned for many months.
In 1986, the student projects went from a small rain soaked tent with a grass floor to a large metal building that housed the education projects and the main office for the fair. The previous fair meetings had been held in the Albion Firehall. They moved the meetings to the Northwestern High School Vo Ag classroom. They are now held in the new Office Building.
Our 44th parade was held in September of 1988. It was the first to see the annual parade change from it?s Thursday afternoon time to Saturday, September 17th. A new rabbit barn was built across the creek in 1988. It still has a dirt floor, but it is able to keep all the little furry rabbits dry during our wet weather. Our sixth and current president is Harold ?Frosty? Crane who took office in 1990. There were many new changes and improvements that took place to the fairgrounds. The safety and welfare of the visitors became an important topic. The fair grew continually during these years and the attractions drew the spectors regardless of the often rainy weather. New restrooms were built in 1991. Our Antique Building was built in 1992 and the Show Ring bleachers were built in 1994.
In 1994, we celebrated 50 years of the Albion Area Fair with many fine festivities. A new parking area was established on the hill behind the animal barns on the north side of the creek. Then in 1997, the milking parlor was added and in 1998 the Scale Building was built. No one will ever forget where they were on September 11, 2001 at 8:46 in the morning. Our fair was just about to open and begin to take entries when the Twin Towers in New York were attacked. The officers decided to continue with the fair.
In 2002, wooden steps were added to each end of the existing grandstand that had been built before the first fair was ever held. The new steps were a welcome addition to all the fairgoers.
Reflecting over the past 59 year history of the ?Biggest Little Fair Around?, one has to marvel at the wonderful work ethic of the local people to work together in some unexpected and sometimes difficult working conditions to see the fair go on. They dig in and volunteer hours and hours of time to see that the spectators get the very best that this little community has to offer. Come and visit the annual fair the second week in September. Rain does not dampen our spirits so don?t let it stop you. And don't forget to see our third oldest carrousel in the nation right in the same park.