History of the Lyon County Fair

Part II

At the 1912 fair, a monoplane plunged into the parking lot while attempting to get into the air for a scheduled stunt show. Five automobiles were damaged. Some of these cars were occupied, but those occupants escaped unharmed. The pilot received two fractured ribs. The accident was caused by engine problems, and the plane was damaged beyond repair.

Records are few and far between, but in 1936 the Lyon County Fair opened on Sept. 8 and, according to the annual report of the Lyon County Agricultural Agent, F.J. Meade, “The club [4-H] show this year was bigger and better than ever, and although we were given a new building in which to house our grain, vegetables and Home Economics exhibits, we almost outgrew our quarters.”

At the Junior Livestock Show in South St. Paul, on Nov. 9-12, 1936, 13 boys and one girl represented Lyon County. The county’s winnings placed it fifth out of 93 counties exhibiting. Robert Meade’s Shropshire Lamb placed second in competition with all the lambs in the carcass show. Meade writes in his report, “the county club remained on the honor roll during the entire show, and demonstrated that club people can be their own best exhibit.”

In the Lyon County Agricultural Agent annual report for 1937 F.J. Meade reported that the county fair was held Sept. 7-10, the same week as the State Fair. “The showings in the beef, sheep and hog classes were large. Few colts were brought in, probably due to the prevalence of sleeping sickness. Home Economics exhibits were good, but there were not quite as many as in the previous year.” The listed champions selected from the following 4-H clubs were: Clothing — Marie Senden, Grandview; Room Furnishing — Elsie Arneson, Cottonwood; Thrift — Eldra Fuhrmann, Clifton; Cake — Elizabeth Mellenthin, Lynd; Canning — Virginia Sterler, Clifton; Bread — Ellen Grandpre, Fairview, Crops — Martha DeLanghe, Grandview; Baby Beef — Ervis Sterler, Clifton; Sheep — Robert Meade, Lake Marshall; Dairy — Robert Meade, Lake Marshall; Colt — Emil Louwagie, Fairview; Pig — Wallace Dierickx, Lyons-Coon Creek; Breeding Poultry — Iris Madden, Lynd; Market Poultry — Rodney Lewis, Garvin.

The 1937 Junior Livestock Show was held in November at which Robert Gifford of Balaton carried off the grand championship with his latest Shropshire lamb. At the auction the lamb was purchased by Witt’s Market of Minneapolis for $4.25 a pound, the third highest price brought by a lamb in the history of the show. Robert received a gold wristwatch, a bronze plaque, and a trip to the National Club congress as his award for winning the grand championship. This is the first grand championship won by a Lyon County Club member at the Junior Livestock Show since 1934, when Jean Middleton of Marshall took similar honors with his pen of poultry. Robert Meade of Marshall was named champion in sheep showmanship at this year’s show and received a gold pocket watch as his award.

(Continued next week)

Sources: History of Lyon County, A.P. Rose; News Messenger, Oct. 4, 1912; “Lyon County Agricultural Annual Report,” 1936 and 1937 editions, F. J. Meade; Balaton Press, Aug. 22, 1963; Tracy Headline Herald, Aug. 29, 1963; Marshall Messenger, Aug. 19, 1964; Lyon County Independent, Sept. 2, 1964.