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It’s Fair Time

The State Fair of Texas is now underway over in Dallas. This is one great fair. You can
go and spend all day and still not see all the exhibits that are there. A few years back
while vacationing in East Texas, I noticed on TV that the South-East Texas State Fair
was going on in Beaumont. We left Lake Sam Rayburn early one morning to get to
Beaumont before 10:00 o’clock so that we could have all day to look around.

Arriving at the fairgrounds sometime after 10:00 o’clock, we found all the gates closed
and locked. Locating one of the guards, I asked what time they opened. “Oh,” he said,
“We don’t open the gates until 5:00 o’clock.” We didn’t wait around for them to open.

Some of you may remember when Cleburne was host to the North Central Texas Fair &
Rodeo. The fair grounds were out west of town, well it was out of town then, where the
old Hill College buildings are just west of the Civic Center. These were rock buildings,
since covered over with stucco, with metal roofs.

One building housed the ladies cooking and canning exhibits, one housed the sewing and
quilting exhibits, some shown by the 4H and FFA girls. Another building housed the
poultry exhibits which were mostly shown by the 4H and FFA boys. Mr. Nix, more
affectionately known as the "chicken doctor," was over the showing and judging of the

The rodeo arena was a little west/northwest of where the post office is now, at
approximately the intersection of Faircrest and Glenwood. The bleachers on the east
side of the arena were built out of rock similar to the ones at Yellow Jacket Stadium,
except these bleachers had openings in the back for venders to set up their wares.

These bleachers and the other buildings, along with Yellow Jacket Stadium, the
bleachers by the tennis court in the south end of City Park and all the rockwork along
Buffalo Creek, were built by the WPA during the 1930’s. During W.W.II these buildings
were used to house German prisoners.

In the 1950’s the Army National Guard built their Armory just east of the fairgrounds and
after they quit using it the city took it over and turned it into the Civic Center.

The fair and rodeo here was always held the first part of September so that it would be
over before the State Fair started over in Dallas.

While vacationing in Idaho a couple of years ago my wife and I went to the Southeast
Idaho State Fair in Idaho Falls. It was open all day, had exhibits mostly by the local
students, and reminded me of the fairs that were held here in Cleburne many years ago.


Reccomended reading

Texas Tales
Life on the Farm