The summer months are a time for fairs and festivals throughout the United States. The history of county fairs goes back many years. Jefferson County, New York, lays claim to the oldest continuously operating county fair in the U.S. On October 25, 1817, the community leaders of the county came together to form the Jefferson County Agricultural Society. They recognized that agricultural activities including farming, raising livestock, growing fruits and vegetables, and tillage of the soil were a principal source of wealth in the county. The organization of the Agricultural Society was preceded by an earlier event in April, 1808, when a competition was held to see if any resident of the county could produce the best woolen cloth of texture and quality not less than thirty yards long. The contest resulted in a tie, and the prize money was divided. The first cattle show and fair of the Jefferson County Agricultural Society was held on September 28 and 29, 1818. Governor DeWitt Clinton and other notable citizens were present at the festivities. A cart drawn by seventeen yoke of oxen and steers was exhibited, as well as a cart drawn by fifteen yoke of very fine fat cattle. A plowing match was held on the 29th, followed by a parade to the Jefferson County Court House, where the domestic manufactures were exhibited. Speeches were given, including one by Governor Clinton. Although programs and attractions of fairs and festivals have changed with the times, the events continue to be an American tradition.
From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution