The Van Buren County Livestock Show & Fair, Inc. has been educating the youth on agriculture and providing family wholesome events for over 80 years. The VBC Livestock Show & Fair was incorporated in 1937 by a local group of 22 citizens making them one of the oldest corporations still in effect in Van Buren County. Each member of the founding 22 members pledged $2 apiece to create their starting budget.
Creation of the county fair in these times was as much about education as the festival atmosphere. Farmers would take this opportunity to learn about new farm machinery and trade techniques as well as an opportunity to display their efforts. Farming wasn’t the only show to be seen with housewives would enter contest from canning to decorations. Throughout the history of the fair they have always stressed the family atmosphere.
The Van Buren County Livestock & Fair Inc was the expansion of an existing organization commonly known at the time as the Race and Festival Association. This group prior to 1937 organized a yearly festival with horse racing that was held at a dirt race track that used to be located where Goode’s Cash Saver is and had they had tents and a festival across Town Branch at the current location of Davis Cash Lumber.
The Van Buren County Fairgrounds was originally located on School Hill where they would operate until 1978 when they bought the 32.7 acres that is the current fairgrounds. When the 32.7 acres was acquired to be the new home of the Van Buren County Fair Grounds the lot was completely covered with trees. Ms. Weatherly recalls they would meet every morning for breakfast and work a couple of hours then go to their regular jobs. After their day at their paying place of employment was over they would return to the fairgrounds eat dinner and then work till dark with this process repeating itself daily for over a month.
The Van Buren County Livestock Show & Fair has numerous events throughout the year with their banner event coming in the fall with the Van Buren County Fair. The Van Buren County Fair has a little of something for everyone with events in livestock, cookie jar competition, commercial exhibits, fair queen, and the carnival to top off the list. In 1937 at the first VBC Fair one of the military bands were brought in to play for the fair and they also served as the judges for the first VBC Fair pageant electing the first VBC Fair Queen Jean Roach Eoff.
The fairgrounds have come a long way from its modest beginnings and now house eight different buildings with new construction of the Farmer for a Day building to begin this spring. The association is run on a volunteer basis and is always welcoming of new volunteers. The current fair grounds are not only the home to a multitude of fair events they are also available to the public with a donation made to the Fair Association.
Coming soon is the Halloween Spooktacular Pageant. This pageant is costumes only with no formal dress and all ages welcome to participate. The pageant will start at 10 a.m. with babies and youth on Halloween morning and the adult division starting at 2 p.m. wrapping up this event. All are welcome to enter and this pageant looks to be fun for the whole family. For more information please contact Corrine at 501-745-8100.