1887 Washington County Fair

The construction of a new 1,000-seat grandstand at the Washington County fairgrounds was completed on Sept. 12, 1887, just in time for the opening of the fair the next day.

“The new grand stand, which was erected by a company of enterprising citizens of Sandy Hill, is a marked addition to the convenience of the grounds,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on Sept. 14. “The old structure, weather worn and without a roof to shelter the occupants, had long been a standing reproach.”

The fair had another novelty — a woman running a refreshment stand.

“It is alleged that she wore a dress with eight pockets, and each pocket contained a half-pint flask filled with something stronger than lemonade. The boys did not wink in vain,” The Morning Star reported on Sept. 20.

The weather at Sandy Hill, now known as Hudson Falls, was dismal on opening day.

“A drizzling rain interfered somewhat with the arrangements, and yet the number of entries received thus far is larger than that of last year.”

Weather on the second day of the fair started out looking to be dour, but improved.

“The heavens were overcast with threatening clouds yesterday morning, and coupled with the unfavorable weather of the previous day, had a rather depressing effect on the managers of the Washington County Fair,” The Morning Star reported on Sept. 15. “Shortly before noon a ray of light peeped through the heavy veiling of mist, and by one o’clock the sun was shining in all its brilliance. The gloomy aspect changed to one of brightness and delightful autumnal weather prevailed during the rest of the day.”

N.S. Mc Omber, demonstrating his silver plating and cleaning compound, and Martin Burton, with his patented bed and sofa springs were among the exhibitors.

Agricultural exhibitors had a good showing.

“The products of Washington County soil have a credible representation in nearly all classes of crops. There are potatoes in endless variety, a squash that weighs 160 pounds, and cereals of all kinds. One man exhibits upward of fifty varieties of potatoes.”

Favorable weather on Sept. 15, the third day of the fair, brought out a large attendance.

“Whitehall, Granville, Hebron, Hartford, Kingsbury, Fort Edward and Glens Falls sent large delegations, and nearly every town in Washington County was represented to a greater or lesser degree,” The Morning Star reported on Sept. 16.

An estimated 17,000 people attended that day, including an estimated 3,000 from Glens Falls.

“In a word, there was a rather exodus from this village,” The Morning Star reported.

Glens Falls attendance may have been boosted by a promotion at the Rochester One-Price Clothing Co. at 132 Glen St.

The retailer was offering free fair admission and a free round trip street car pass to and from the fair grounds to every customer that purchased $2.50 or more in merchandise.

The fair had revenue of $6,003 — the equivalent of $174,775 in 2021 dollars, The Morning Star reported on Sept. 23.

Click here to read my most recent previous post about regional agricultural fairs.

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY