Facts Compiled by Shirley Meighen
The town of Huntertown was established in a rural setting 10 miles north of Fort Wayne. It was not surprising that agriculture was a main activity for the residents. As their life and farming practices improved, many farmers felt the need to “show off” their goods. It all started in 1915 with a community colt show held on the streets of Huntertown. News of this event was heard in the surrounding counties and enough interest was generated that in 1916 the first official Huntertown livestock and agricultural fair was held.
A stock company was organized among the farmers of Allen and other counties and they raised enough money to buy 7 acres of land at the south end of Huntertown. There were several barns built to house the stock exhibits. In 1918 a new pavilion was constructed at a cost of more than $4,000. The quality of the livestock and products shown at this fair was excellent. In fact, the judges remarked that this was better than any other fair in Indiana with the exception being the State show.
Up to this point the fair committee had been unable to award any cash prizes for the exhibit winners. But in 1919, the county council appropriated a sum of money to be awarded. This would hopefully increase the number and quality of the exhibits. Also new to the 1919 fair was a boys’ livestock judging contest. It was open to boys under 20 years old from the 9 surrounding counties of northeast Indiana. They could win anywhere from $5-$15.00 and $50.00 was awarded to the five boys making the highest scores in the district. In addition, the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel offered a gold medal in the contest.
Noting the great economic importance of the dairy cow, the fair board held a 60-hour milk and butterfat production contest. This provided an excellent demonstration of the best methods of weighing and testing milk. Schlosser Bros. furnished an expert tester to supervise the contest. Prizes of $5-$25.00 were offered for the most butterfat produced in 60 hours. Purdue University was involved as well, and assisted the county agent in presenting educational exhibits of feeds, fertilizers, cream separators, tractors, automobiles, labor-saving devices and more to help the farmer and his family.
There were also several clean vaudeville attractions to entertain both children and adults. There was band music every day and a series of entertainment programs in the pavilion sponsored by Wolf & Dessauer.
In 1924 Huntertown continued to be the center of attraction with the establishment of the Allen County Fair. There was a regular organization with stockholders and money invested for the sole purpose of making a profit. An added attraction was a racetrack and of course, a barn to house the race horses. A grandstand was then necessary for the spectators and betters. The exposition building was jammed full of vegetables, crafts and all those items that are typical at a fair. Other barns housed the livestock for the judging and duration of the fair. No fair would be complete without the Merry-go-Round and Ferris Wheel so these were there to provide great fun. The Model T Fords were lined up so everyone could see this super means of transportation.
Unfortunately, as interest and energies turned to other things, the years of enjoyment and participation ended, as the Huntertown Fair concluded in 1926.