From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Kentucky Colored Fairs

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture attempted to collect data on the associations that held fairs in Kentucky, but, for the most part, the data was not reported. The second report was published in 1879, wherein three Colored fair associations and their fairs were reported: Shelby, Bourbon, and Clark Counties. They are listed on p. 419 of the Second Annual Report of the State Bureau of Agriculture, Horticulture, and Statistics (1879), by W. J. Davie [available full-text at Google Book Search]. In addition to the three counties listed in the annual publication, there were many more Colored fairs that took place around the state beginning in the late 1800s. The fairs created business for the cities in which they were held and for the railroad companies. When a Colored fair was held, many times there would be special train services offered from various cities around the state to the fair location, sometimes with reduced round trip rates.

  • In 1869, the Lexington Colored Fair, the largest in the state, was held on Georgetown Pike. It may have been the first Colored fair in Kentucky. [See the 1869 Lexington Colored Fair entry in NKAA.] [Lexington is located in Fayette County.]
  • In 1870, the first colored fair for Simpson and Logan Counties was held. The fair did well for three years, netting $3,000 in 1870, then the profits fell off. The fair had been organized by the Agriculture and Mechanical Association in Simpson and Logan Counties. Two of the founders of the organization were Elijah P. Marrs and his brother H. C. Marrs. The project was started with $750 the brothers raised by selling 50 subscriptions (stock) that went for $15 each. H. C. Marrs was president, E. P. Marrs, secretary, and James Flint and James Tyree secured the property for the fair. The men purchased 42 acres for $4,200. When the profits began to fall, E. P. Marrs sold his stock. [Source: Ante-bellum free Negroes as race leaders in Virginia and Kentucky during Reconstruction (thesis) by C. B. King, p. 134.]
  • In 1874, the Kentucky General Assembly set restrictions against selling beverages and alcohol within one mile of the Bourbon County Colored Fair. The fair was managed by the Agricultural and Mechanical Association of the Colored People of Bourbon County. [See the Agricultural and Mechanical Association of the Colored People of Bourbon County entry in NKAA.]
  • In 1878, a Colored Fair was held in Abdallah Park in Harrison County. [See the Harrison County Colored Fair entry in NKAA.]
  • In 1879, a Colored Fair had been held in Clark County. In 1910, the Clark County Colored Fair Association was formed with President J. C. Hopewell, Vice-President John Pervine, Recording Secretary C. H. Curry, Corresponding Secretary H. P. Alexander, Treasurer J. W. Bates, and Assistant Treasurer Woodson Miller. The organization planned their first fair for 1911.
  • In 1897, a Colored Fair was held in Springfield. The fair was raided by Sheriff Baughman and his posse due to gaming operations: "sure things," a wheel of fortune," bee hive," and the "tin horse steal." In 1900, the Washington County Colored Fair Association held their fair September 20-23. The fair was referred to as the Springfield Colored Fair and as the Washington County Colored Fair. In 1902 and 1903 the fair was a loss financially and attendance was down.
  • In 1898, the Danville Colored Fair was held August 24-27. [Danville is located in Boyle County.]
  • In 1898, the Stanford Colored Fair was held September 30-October 1. [Stanford is located in Lincoln County.]
  • In 1899, the Louisville Colored Fair was held during the month of August. Round trip train fare was available from Mt. Vernon to Louisville for August 25 and 26. In 1900, the L & N Railroad service provided a special rate from Hopkinsville, with return on August 15 and 16 from Louisville. In 1910, the Louisville Colored Fair Association held its fair September 21-24. The Illinois Central provided round trip train service from Hopkinsville to Louisville for $5.38. [Louisville is located in Jefferson County.]
  • In 1900, Professor J. F. Gray from Russellville, traveled to Earlington to advertise the second fair to be held in Guthrie, October 11-13, by the Guthrie Colored Fair Association. [Guthrie is located in Todd County.]
  • In 1900, the Hustonville Colored Fair Company had a loss of 35 cents on its fair held August 15-18. The fair included a cake walk and a baseball game. [Hustonville is located in Lincoln County.]
  • In 1900, the Illinois Central provided round trip train service from Hopkinsville to Paducah for the Colored Fair, September 12-14. In 1908, a Colored fair association was formed in Paducah with the intention of having a fair in either August or September of 1909. [Paducah is located in McCracken County.]
  • In 1900, the first Colored Fair was held in Richmond by the Young Men's Agricultural and Mechanical Association. The event was held at the Richmond Fair Grounds, August 23-25. In 1901, E. M. Embry was president of the organization, and B. F. Stone was secretary. [Richmond is located in Madison County.]
  • In 1900, the Shelbyville Colored Fair was held September 5-7, one week after the Shelbyville Fair for whites. Southern Railroad offered services at low rates from various cities to Shelbyville. In 1924, the New Colored Shelby County Association, Inc. held their third annual fair. [See the New Colored Shelby County Fair Association, Inc. entry in NKAA.]
  • In 1900, the Stamping Ground Colored Fair was again being held at Wash's Woods. [See the Stamping Ground Colored Fair entry in NKAA.] [Stamping Ground is located in Scott County.]
  • In 1901, the Newburg Colored Fair was held in September. The Illinois Central provided round trip service from Hopkinsville, with a transfer in Princeton, then on to Louisville, with a return on September 6, at $2.50. [Newburg is located in Jefferson County.]
  • In 1901, the Owensboro Colored Fair was held August 29-31. For those attending the fair from Beaver Dam, a round trip train ticket cost $1.25. In 1903, the Owensboro Colored Fair was held in October. [Owensboro is located in Daviess County.]
  • In 1902 and in 1903, the Lincoln County and Garrard County Colored Fair Association held its fair at the Stanford Fair Grounds. In 1903 the fair was held August 27-29 in the woodlands on Danville Avenue, the property of Mrs. Nora M. Goodknight. The fair association officers were W. M. Jones, President; Alex Miller, Vice-President; W. H. Harris, Secretary; and J. Miller Broaddus, Assistant-Secretary. In 1905, the combined county fair was held in Lancaster, August 24-26. By 1906, the union was dissolved and Lincoln and Garrard Counties were holding their own Colored fairs in their respective counties.
  • In 1903, the Colored Fair held in Frankfort was not a success. In 1905, the Frankfort Colored Fair was held September 12-16. During the fair, the Ninth Battalion, Ohio National Guard, an all African American unit, was to hold their annual encampment in Lexington rather than Frankfort. Lexington officials had sought and received permission from Kentucky Governor Beckham to allow the Ninth Battalion to enter the state bearing arms. In 1906, the Colored Fair Association held its fair at Glenwood Park, September 6-8. By 1908, the organization name had changed to the Frankfort County Colored Agricultural and Industrial Association. [Frankfort is located in Franklin County.]
  • In 1904, the Henry County Colored Fair was held September 29-October 1. The L&N Railroad sold tickets to Eminence at a rate of one fair plus 25 cents for the round trip. [Source: "Eminence, Ky." in the column "L. and N. Special Rate Column within the Lexington Herald, 10/02/1904, p. 3].
  • In 1905, the Harrodsburg Colored Fair was held, and in 1906 the Harrodsburg Colored Fair Association was included in the List of National, State, and Local Commercial Organizations, compiled by the Interstate Commerce Commission, p. 172 {Google Book Search}. [Harrodsburg is located in Mercer County.]
  • In 1905, the Scott County Colored Fair was held August 9-12.
  • In 1905, the Midway Colored Fair was held at the end of August, 1905. [Source: "The Midway Colored Fair...," Lexington Herald, 09/14/1905, p. 8.] [Midway is in Woodford County.]
  • In 1906, the Hardin County Colored Fair was held in Elizabethtown, September 28 and 29. The L&N Railroad offered round trip service from Mt. Vernon to Elizabethtown for $3.85.
  • In 1906, the Nelson County Colored Fair was led by 78 year old Jarvis Wilson.
  • In 1907, the Christian County Colored Fair was held in Hopkinsville at the Horse Show grounds in September.
  • In 1907, the success of the combined Lincoln and Garrard County Colored Fairs prompted a separate Colored Fair in Lancaster, August 8-10. The Lancaster Fair Association was led by African Americans from Lancaster and Garrard County. The fair was canceled for 1910 by the association president George Morgan and secretary James B. Williams due to a misunderstanding about the cost of renting the fair grounds. [Lancaster is located in Garrard County.]
  • In 1907, the first Laurel County Colored Fair was held September 27 and 28 in London. It was during the baseball game that Russell Dyche, editor of the London Sentinel, was struck by a baseball and taken to Louisville, KY, for eye surgery.
  • In 1908, a Colored Fair Association was being formed in Berea; it had hoped to hold a fair in September of that year. The Berea Fair Association voted to rent the fair grounds to the Colored association. [Berea is located in Madison County.]
  • In 1908, the Knox County Colored Fair Association was incorporated in July and planned to hold its first fair, a two day event, a few months later. The association executive members were President Jeff Etter, Vice President J. W. Mullins, Secretary Mary L. Jones, and Treasurer J. J. Croley. The Knox County Colored Fair Association was one of the few in Kentucky to have a woman on the executive committee.
  • In 1909, the Montgomery County Colored Fair Association had its fair at the Mt. Sterling Fair Grounds, September 22-25. [See the Montgomery County Colored Fair Association entry in NKAA.]
  • In 1910, the Glasgow Colored Fair was held October 6-9. [Glasgow is located in Barren County.]
  • In 1910, a Colored Fair Association was formed in Nicholasville, and the first meeting was held at the Knights of Pythias fair grounds on September 2 and 3. Nicholasville is located in Jessamine County. See Colored fair association...in "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 08/07/1910, p. 16.

For more see "Look out for them" in the News-Leader, 09/02/1897, p. 2; "Colored Fair at Danville" in the Central Record, 07/15/1898, p. 1; "The Stanford Journal says..." in the Central Record, 09/16/1898, p. 1; "One fair for the round trip..." in the Mount Vernon Signal, 08/25/1899, p. 3; "Our Colored citizens" in The Bee, 10/04/1900, p. 7; "The Hustonville Colored Fair Company..." in the Central Record, 08/23/1900, p. 1; "The Catalogues for the colored fair" in the Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, 07/27/1900, p. 3; "Special rates via L & N..." in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 08/10/1900, p. 8; "Account of Colored Fair..." in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 09/07/1900, p. 8; "The first Colored fair ever..." in the Citizen, 08/29/1900, p. 1; "Low rates via Southern Railroad" in the Mt. Sterling Advocate, 08/28/1900, p. 1; "Colored Folks" in the News-Leader, 09/20/1900, p. 1; "Colored fair here" in the Richmond Climax, 08/08/1900, p. 3; "Louisville return $2.50" in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 08/16/1901, p. 7; "On account of Owensboro Colored Fair..." in the Hartford Herald, 08/21/1901, p. 1; "The Colored fair held here..." in the Frankfort Roundabout, 10/03/1903, p. 8; "Big Colored Fair" in the Central Record, 04/24/1903, p. 1; "John and Edmund Holland attended the Owensboro Colored Fair Saturday" in The Bee, 10/08/1903, p. 6; "Allowed to bear arms" in the Citizen, 07/27/1905, p. 7; "Colored Fair in Lancaster" in the Central Record, 06/30/1905, p. 1; "Reduced tickets to Scott County Colored Fair. Georgetown, Ky" in The Blue-grass Blade, 08/06/1905, p. 3; "Colored People's Fair" in The Frankfort Roundabout, 08/18/1906, p. 2; "Reduced rates" in the Mount Vernon Signal, 09/14/1906, p. 3; "Proud of his record" in the Springfield Sun, 04/25/1906, p. 1; "The colored fair will be held..." in the Central Record, 07/19/1907, p. 1; "The First annual exhibition..." in the Citizen, 09/12/1907, p. 8; "Colored Fair" in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 09/21/1907, p. 1; "Shattered Glass" in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 10/01/1907, p. 4; "Berea and vicinity" in the Citizen, 03/12/1908, p. 3; "Knox County Colored Fair Association" in the Mountain Advocate, 06/26/1908, p. 3; "Colored citizens may have a fair next fall" in The Paducah Evening Sun, 05/26/1908, p. 6; "Colored Fair," Mount Sterling Advocate, 09/15/1909, p. 6; "Glasgow colored fair, October 6, three days" in the Hartford Herald, 07/27/1910, p. 1; "Louisville Colored Fair Ass'n" in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 09/24/1910, p. 4; "Colored Column: On the night of October 27..." in the Winchester News, 10/29/1910, p. 4.

**All articles and additional information are available online at Kentucky Digital Newspaper Program.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Simpson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lyon County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bourbon County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Harrison County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Clark County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Washington County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Boyle County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lincoln County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Todd County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about McCracken County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Madison County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Shelby County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Scott County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Daviess County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Garrard County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Franklin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Henry County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Mercer County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Woodford County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Hardin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Nelson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Christian County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Laurel County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Knox County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Montgomery County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Barren County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jessamine County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Springfield, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Danville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Stanford, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Guthrie, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Hustonville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Paducah, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Richmond, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Shelbyville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Stamping Ground, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Newburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Owensboro, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lancaster, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Eminence, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Harrodsburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Midway, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Elizabethtown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Hopkinsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about London, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Berea, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Mt. Sterling, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Glasgow, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Nicholasville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

References

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Colored A. & M. Fair Association
NKAA Entry: Marrs, Elijah P.
NKAA Entry: Agricultural and Mechanical Association of the Colored People of Bourbon County
NKAA Entry: 1878 Abdallah Park "Colored" Fair (Harrison County, KY)
NKAA Entry: 1924 third annual fair and premium list of New Colored Shelby County Fair Association, Inc.
NKAA Entry: Colored Fair at Stamping Ground, KY
NKAA Entry: Montgomery County Colored Fair Association (Kentucky)
NKAA Entry: Williams, Henry
NKAA Source: Ante-bellum free Negroes as race leaders in Virginia and Kentucky during Reconstruction (thesis)
NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The News-leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Mount Vernon signal (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Semi-weekly interior journal (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Hopkinsville Kentuckian (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Citizen (newspaper) (Berea, KY)
NKAA Source: The Mt. Sterling advocate (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Richmond climax (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Hartford herald (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Frankfort roundabout (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Bee (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Blue-grass blade (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Springfield sun (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Mountain advocate (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Paducah evening sun (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Winchester news (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Kentucky Colored Fairs,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed December 11, 2018, http://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/2072.

Last modified: 2018-07-23 17:57:55