History of the Fisher Fair
The Fisher Community Fair and Horse Show began as a grouping of tents behind the old Fisher Elementary School. Because of gas and rubber rationing during World War II, the residents of the area were not able to travel
to the Champaign County Fair.
The first Fisher Community Fair idea was conceived
in 1941 by the Condit 4-H Club. A.A. Jones was the Leader of the Condit 4-H club, the East Bend Brownies, Jess D. Naffzigger, leader and the High School FFA Chapter, Marshall J. Scott, Advisor, for the purpose of permitting the Farm
Youth Organizations (FYO) to exhibit their work and to help build a cooperative spirit in the community. That was the early beginnings and has continued to be a non-profit fair. Since that time, it has grown into a community institution
under the leadership of several different committees.
The past fairs have all been a great success on the basis of
attendance. The first year, however, a fine crowd of between 1,000 and 1,500 people was sent home by storms from Mother Nature, when a four hour downpour dampened the spirits of all fair-goers and exhibitors. Because of the short day
a financial deficit was incurred. The Fisher Lion’s Club, East Bend Brownies, Condit 4-H Club and the Fisher FFA Chapter each contributed $10 dollars to balance the books. Since that time, better weather and liberal donations have
made the fair a financial success as well as a successful community event that is anticipated every year for the entire community.
The first Premium & Event book was printed in 1942. This
book is now a mandatory publication from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The book must list all categories and classes and premiums that will be offered
and paid out to exhibitors.
The first fair was held on the athletic field, in 1942, but due
to the rain that day, the following fairs were held on the High School grounds, where more adequate shelter was obtained for the exhibitors. Each year the exhibits of livestock, poultry, garden produce, flowers, bread, cakes and pastries, fancy work, sewing, canned foods and hobbies & crafts are exhibited. Each of the classes are awarded a first, second, third & fourth places. Most of those classes still exist today in the Exhibit building, with a few additional classes being added due to the newer technology in the 21st century. Digital Photography prints and Rose mailing & Toll Painting are just a few of the newer categories. Canning, Candy making, Sewing and Baking categories have all seen a decline, also with the
changing times of our world.
Also, each year a home talent program, or later known as Women’s programs appeared until the late eighties. This event was a huge success during those years, until the homemaker began working away from home, then those programs died out due to low attendance. The programs included anything from
Macramé, Flower Arranging and Quilting. The programs were lead by local community members or the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension.
The first Horse Show was held in 1943 on the school grounds. It was so well liked by the fair-goers, that it was enlarged each year until 1946 when it was held at the athletic field under flood lights at night time. In addition to the local exhibitors, horse owners from 10 surrounding towns had taken part in the Horse Show during the first several years. In 2007, the Horse
Show attracted over 150 horses with 42 cities and 4 states attending the day long event. It still continues today to be an awesome riding arena and one show that many come to year after year!