Sedgwick County Fair
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Coordinates: The Sedgwick County Fair has been held in Cheney, Sedgwick County, Kansas, United States since 1940. Floyd Souders (see also Souders Historical Museum), a citizen of Cheney began working on having a county fair in the community in 1939. Even though Cheney was one of the smaller towns in the county, it had been successful in hosting a Fall Festival, and Souders thought Cheney would be a good site for a county fair.
Souders owned and ran the town newspaper, and also served in the Kansas House of Representatives. He used his leadership skills, and connections to build the fair into a special event. He involved the Chamber of Commerce which led to the organization of the Sedgwick County Fair Association in 1939.
The city of Cheney owned land in the town, and donated the land to the new Fair Association to get started. A bond issue was passed for $1200 to build the first building, and volunteers donated the labor. The building was dedicated October 5, 1939.
The first fair was held October 2, 1940. The following year the fair was held again, but due to World War II the government cancelled all fairs until the war was over. In September 1947, the third annual Sedgwick County Fair was held. In the early years, tents were rented to house food booths and exhibits. Over time, the fair has grown and now occupies over 20 acres (81,000 m2). There are several permanent buildings for commercial exhibits, food booths, animal pens and buildings for 4H exhibits. New seating for 3,000 fans at the Rodeo arena was completed in 2003. A new 4H exhibit building was dedicated in 2006 and new buildings to show rabbits and chickens were completed in 2007.
The heart of the Sedgwick County Fair is still the 4H members exhibiting their projects. However, over time the fair has tried to reflect interests of a broader base of the county, and offers softball tournaments, washer tournaments, demolition derbys and, most recently, a talent contest.