The Eau Claire County Fair began in 1924, and for the first seven years was held in Augusta. This fair featured a carnival and horse races. In 1930 the fair building burned and the fair was moved to Fall Creek. After the city of Eau Claire hosted the fair in 1934 and 1935, it returned to Augusta until 1939.

The effects of the Great Depression were evident during this time with fair exhibits, including entries such as “best patched garment and best darning on a hose.” The fair returned to Eau Claire in 1940, and live stock were housed in the cavalry barns on the outskirts of the city and the other exhibits were displayed in the City Auditorium. In 1941 the county fair moved to a site in Altoona. The first year witnessed the building of the dairy barn and a portion of the main exhibit building, with a dormitory being built the following year.

oyc stand

Just as the Great Depression affected the fair in earlier years, the county fair from 1942 to 1945 reflected the influence of World War II. Sears provided free seed for victorious gardeners and 4-H clubs collected milkweed pods, scrap iron, and silver from gum wrappers for the Red Cross and USO. Basket socials were held for war fund donations. The fair switched to paper ribbons, and with the clothing shortage, creative clothing project members found ways to make use of feed and flour sacks which came in prints especially for that purpose. German prisoners of war were housed at the fair grounds for a short time near the end of the war.

In 1946 and 1947 a hog barn, food stand and beef barn were built. Some club members did not participate in the fair during this time because of the polio scare. Later Fair ground additions on the Altoona site included a kitchen and an addition to the main exhibit building. The fair remained in Altoona until 1996 when it moved to the current site on the south side of Eau Claire. The new site features a main exhibit building, three barns, an arena, an outdoor food stand and a dog agility ring.

The new site has not changed the main feature of the Eau Claire County Fair, which is, as it always has been, the youth themselves. Members of the county youth organizations, with the greatest participation by 4-H and FFA members, continue to have the opportunity to learn, have fun and be recognized for their accomplishments through the county fair tradition. Since 1996, two full “Kids’ Days” have brought hundreds of youth from the general public to the fair to enjoy safe, low cost, family-centered activities sponsored by 4-H.