I’ve never lived in a place where the state fair was a big event. The Oklahoma State Fair, on the other hand, has always been a big event. Oklahoma became the 46th state on 16 November 1907. Just a month before gaining statehood, Oklahoma held its very first “state” fair, which opened on 5 October.
About 75,000 people attended this first state fair, which charged 25 cents admission, but allowed school children under 12 in for free. There were a lot of competitive events, including chuck wagon racing:
There were rope throwing events, lasso contests, games and animal events, including horse racing. There was a quilt contest and likely baking events. Every family member could find something fun to do.
Edward Stufflebean, my father-in-law, wasn’t around for the 1907 state fair, held outside of Oklahoma City, as he wasn’t even born until 1917.
Although I didn’t title this post as a Treasure Chest Thursday, it could certainly be considered as such because as I am sharing a photo of 14 year old Ed, who had his picture taken at the 1931 state fair with two of his friends.
Ed Stufflebean, right
The back of this picture is inscribed:
“Taken Oklahoma State Fair 1931”
I think Ed’s mother, Pearl Brasher Stufflebean, might have written the inscription.
By fall 1931, the U.S. was deep into the Great Depression and I can’t imagine that admission was as expensive as 25 cents with so many people out of work, but I can’t find many details about past fairs online.
I chose today to share this picture because 17 September is the opening day of the 108th Oklahoma State Fair. Attendance has grown considerably from 75,000 in 1907. The 2014 attendance was estimated to be almost 1,000,000. If you are planning to visit on Opening Day, have a wonderful time.