History: Recounting the Bossier Parish Fair

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The Plain Dealing Progress, in its Oct 31, 1929 issue, recounted the history of the Bossier Parish Fair.

“In 1899 the first Bossier Parish Fair was held in Benton, with Mr. John M. Sentell, president and Dr. C. H. Irion, secretary, and Mrs. W. H. Scanland, Treasurer.  This fair was held on Dr. C. H. Irion’s property and proved quite an enjoyable occasion, so much so that the next year the venture was repeated with still greater success.  Then in 1901 the Fair was not quite so successful and the venture was abandoned for the next two years.  Then Plain Dealing felt that the Bossier Parish Fair should be established and they gathered together a most creditable exhibit and again the fair was started.”

“It was not until 1907 that the Bossier Fair Association became a chartered institution, the charter being signed April 8, 1907.”

“A plot of ground containing 24 acres was leased from Mrs. Curtis Scovell, of Dallas, and Mrs. C. L. Gaines, of St. Louis, Mo., for a consideration of $2.00 per acre.”

“The interest in the Bossier Parish Fair has ever been most keen but in 1917 the Fair was transferred from Plain Dealing to Bossier City, it being felt that this was the most central location and more convenient to get the exhibits collected and then transferred to the Louisiana State Fair.  At this time Mr. Tom Hickman was president and Mr. U. W. Hutchings, Secretary-treasurer.  The fairgrounds was then located where they still remain and the use of the ground for the fair was donated by Judge J. E. Reynolds.  This ground is still used without any cost to the association.  From year to year the interest has been increasing and this year the interest has outgrown any previous year.  For the first time there have been held four community fairs over the parish and from these the best exhibits will be brought to the parish fair and then to the State Fair.  Last year only Plain Dealing and Benton had the community fairs and this year Haughton and Rocky Mount have been added.”

“The Bellevue Oil Field Community Club have asked for space for their exhibit.  This will be the only Community Club bringing an exhibit this year, although there have been several of these clubs organized during the past few months.”

“Another added feature to the interest has been the number of improved roads that have been completed during the past year, making it possible for all citizens to reach the Fair over good roads.  Bossier Parish now has 40 miles of grade A concrete roads with another 100 miles of improved and gravel roads.  At the time of the chartering of the Bossier Parish Fair Association there were no gravel nor concrete roads, although some of the roads were graded at that time.”

The Bossier Parish Fair continued at least until 1941, possibly even longer.  To see some of the fair catalogs and premium lists from the early fairs, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at amiddlet@state.lib.la.us