Fair Story

July 28, 1860

The Olmsted County Agricultural Society was formed on July 28, 1860, at a meeting held at the County Courthouse in Rochester, Minnesota and it was decided at that meeting to hold a County Fair that same fall. 

October 3 & 4, 1860

The first Olmsted County Fair was set for October 3 & 4, 1860, the site to be the courthouse in Rochester, the purpose of the fair was to encourage farmers and merchants to display their best livestock, produce and tools for agricultural production.

The Olmsted County Fair continued to be held in Rochester with the Minnesota State Fair taking its place in 1866, 1867, 1869, 1880, 1881, and 1882.

The Olmsted County Fair was held at various locations in or near the city of Rochester until 1919 when Dr. Christopher Graham gifted the county, by a provisional deed, property to be used as a permanent fairgrounds. His stated motive for the gift was “to encourage agriculture and its kindred industries” in Olmsted County; the property is now known as Graham Park.

The Olmsted County Fair continues to be a place for residents of all ages, rural and city alike, to exhibit the best of their livestock, farm crops, flowers, fruits and vegetables, handiwork and hobbies, baking and sewing, in friendly competition; it has also become a place to gather for good food and entertainment, a place to renew old acquaintances and to make new friends and to celebrate the importance of Olmsted County Fair for the community.