Throughout its history the Fremont County Fair has always provided an opportunity for youth to display their talents and accomplishments in a public arena.
Over the years the fair grew and organizers added open and golden age divisions to allow adults to participate. Now, exhibits include 4-H projects, fine arts, quilts, needle work, leather crafts, wood work and more.
There is no gate fee to enter the fair. Admission to all events is free unless otherwise specified.
Extension work in Fremont County began in 1916. However, the first 4-H clubs, also known as Boys' and Girls' Clubs', were not organized until 1925. That year the Fremont County 4-H Program had 50 members and a variety of clubs, which included two pig clubs, a potato club, two poultry clubs, six clothing clubs, a dairy club and a corn club. Projects were exhibited at the First Annual Harvest Festival and Poultry Show. The Corn Club Leader offered a $1 prize to the boy with the best popcorn exhibit.
By 1928, the Annual Harvest Festival and 4-H Club Round Up expanded to a six-day event, which was held at the National Guard's Armory. Livestock and crops were not displayed at the 4-H Club Round Up, but were inspected by a committee.
In 1929, W.A. MacKinzie and Hollis Milles started the first sheep club by donating eight yearling ewes and two ewe lambs to five 4-H boys. In return, the boys were to donate two ewe lambs after the first lambing to be given to other boys.
The first rabbit club was organized in 1935 for 4-Hers who could not afford larger livestock projects.
In 1940, the first Fat Beef Show and Sale was held. The next year 28 Herefords were shown and a committee selected 19 of the animals to be purchased for $11 per hundred pounds. Three exhibitors participating in the 1941 show included A.W. “Bill” Dilley, Kinney Hall and Art Cooper. The effort to improve the quality of animals sold began early. In 1942, a rule prohibited the sale of animals unless they were properly finished. That year, four calves were barred from the sale.
In 1946, the Canon City Chamber of Commerce sponsored a 50-member poultry club. Chamber members furnished 50 chicks for each member. The First National Bank offered a $25 Victory Bond to the 4-Her with the grand champion pen of chickens.
The Fair moved to its present location on land owned by the Royal Gorge Rodeo Association in 1953 and the 4-H Building was constructed with volunteer labor. Later, a sheep and swine barn and horse stalls were built.
In 1966, just two weeks before the Fair's opening, the 4-H Building/Large Animal Barn was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Even this tragedy could not cancel the Fair. Exhibits were displayed in the South Canon Hall and other events were held at different locations throughout the community.
After the fair, members and leaders joined with businesses and individuals to build a new and better building, which was completed in time for the 1967 fair. Over the years, a beef barn and a new larger sheep and swine barn were built.
The Fremont County Fair became a true county fair in 1980 when the fair board added the Open Pantry Division, Needlework, Quilting, Leather Craft, Woodworking and Fine Arts divisions. Later, a Golden Age Division was added to allow nursing home residents and community members over 65 to compete.
Currently, fair activities are held at the Fremont County Fair Grounds and at Pathfinder Park, the future home of the Fremont County Fair.