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Agriculture and Rural Life

Horse Racing and
Early Fair Time Entertainment

Click here to see our on-line exhibition.

Historically, county fairs were one of the few places to see horse racing. Before the midway gained prominence, fireworks displays, balloon ascensions, acrobatic performances, air shows and horse racing were early entertainment featured at fairs. Connections between fairs and racing continue today with tracks at some fairgrounds and revenues from racing supporting youth programs and fair premiums. Horse Racing is the third exhibition in the FairTime! series, which features reproductions of the stunning turn-of-the-century art from The Fair Publishing House, Inc. (Norwalk, Ohio). It explores the historical developments of entertainment at agricultural fairs with a focus on horse racing.


No current bookings. This exhibit is available.

This exhibition has been displayed at the Jackson County Fair, Jackson, MI; Michigan Harness Horseman's Association, Okemos, MI; Iosco County Fair, Hale, MI; Orange County Fair, Costa Mesa, CA; Calhoun County Fair, Marshall, MI; St. Joseph County Grange Fair, Centreville, MI; Hillsdale County Fair, Hillsdale, MI; Calhoun County Fair, MI; and Huntingdon County Fair, Huntingdon, PA.

  Rental Fee: 8 Week period $1,500, plus shipping
  Number of pieces: 21 reproductions of turn-of-the-century paintings created for posters to promote agricultural fairs
  Running feet required: 75-100 running feet
  Insurance Value: $8,000 Certificate of insurance required
  Security requirement: Lockable, limited access display area; provisions to prevent the public from touching pieces; fire protection according to local ordinances
  Additional materials available: Press materials.

This traveling exhibition is an Agricultural Heritage Program activity of the Michigan State University Museum. It is made possible with the generous financial and in-kind support of the Carroll County Youth Fair (Maryland), The Fair Publishing House, Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, Maas Foundation, Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, The Office of Racing Commissioner, Upper Peninsula State Fair, and the following departments and units of Michigan State University: Office of the Provost, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Office of the Vice Provost and Dean, Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, MSU Extension, Office of Academic and Student Affairs.

Photo of Horse Racing poster for The Best at the Fair, circa 1904.

PICTURED: Catalog cover portraying
competition for "the best" at the fair,
ca. 1904.




















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