A Brief History of our 101 Year Old Fair
1918 - According to County Agent Robert Cowan's report, the first fair was organized by the county Granges and held in the fall of 1918 in the Davis Lake Grange Hall at Dalkena. The finances and prizes were secured from Granges, farmers, merchants, and lumber companies with $467 being raised. The fair drew 112 exhibitors entering 1,012 exhibits. All agricultural exhibits were sold for the benefit of the Red Cross.
The Cleveland Tractor Company of Spokane demonstrated their latest equipment at the R.D. Yonk's & J.R. Scott Farms. Another attraction was the Caponizing Demonstration done by Felix P. Lasota, of Metaline Falls.
Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, Ira S. Troyer, said the fair did much to encourage and advertise agriculture in Pend Oreille County.
1919 - The fair committee for the second fair grew from seven to twenty members.
1920 - The fair was growing and a 40x40 Agriculture building was constructed. Every stall was filled with a purebred animal.
1921 - The fair now had a 38 page premium book with many ads and $555 prize money was donated by businesses and individuals
1922 - 1930 - No fairs were held
1931 - The newly formed Pend Oreille County Development League became the sponsor of the fair. This fair was held west of Cusick in a large barn and a circus tent was rented from Spokane. During these years, J. Adam Wike, Cusick, became a prominent fair figure. Wike Hall is named in his honor.
1933 - Thievery and some violence blemished this fair as the depression turned decent folk into hungry beggars who stole many food displays from exhibit booths, the pilfering depleted and in some cases destroyed displays. Entries of fruit and foodstuffs were stolen at night despite the posting of guards. (According to Newport Miner article.) It was a record attendance year.
1938 - The fair moved to the present site and several buildings and a rodeo arena were established. The rodeo became and important part o fth fair and dances were also held.
1941 - 1945 - No fairs were held due to World War II.
1946 - The fair was revived by many. The tradition of choosing a fair queen began with the selection of Miss Patty Brigham to reign as 1st Fair Queen. The fair received its first grant from the State Fair Administration of pari-mutual fund assessment. Adam Wike reported in 1946 a record attendance of 6,000. John George of Metaline Falls gained attention for a 45 pound hubbard squash and a 26 pound banana squash. The excitement included a powwow hosted by the Kalispel Tribe on the grounds, airplane rides from a sanctioned airfield north of Cusick, and fair parades began.
1950's - Fair parades phased out. The county rodeo moved to the new and larger facility in Newport, however fair participants opposed this and ultimately a small rodeo was added to the fair agenda.
1980 - The Fair Board purchased the fairgrounds from the Town of Cusick.
The fair has changed considerably over the last 100 years. What truly remains the same is the county wide community project of people working together for the common good. Workers have contributed free time and labor, management, and entertainment since the time of the 1918 fair.
Thank you for your generosity, your community mindedness, and
your volunteer time to keep our age old tradition of fair time alive.
**Do you have more to add to our history? We'd love to know!!