1917 COMMUNITY FAIR DAY

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 16: Celebrations, Special and Annual Events
By Topic: Celebrations

1917 COMMUNITY FAIR DAY 


TAGS: 1917 Community Fair Day ; Farmer’s Meetings ; farmers ; Community Fair Days ; fairs ; Fair Day ; Harlan County, KY ; foodways ; iron kettles ; agriculture ; Katherine Pettit ; Marguerite Butler ; Philip Roettinger ; Evelyn K. Wells ; coverlets ; baskets ; House in the Woods ; counterpanes ; vegetables ; candy booths ; flower displays ; livestock ; Kentucky State University ; lamb stew ; athletic events ; exhibits ; Margaret Walker ; premiums ; Harlan Enterprise ; newspaper articles ;


This first Fair Day at Pine Mountain, held on September 29th in 1917, was a shared effort between Pine Mountain and the county of Harlan. It centered on talks given by specialists in the field of agriculture requested by Katherine Pettit. There is evidence that it was modeled on the fairs held at Hindman and also at many county seats throughout Kentucky in the first several decades of the twentieth-century.

The correspondence of Katherine Pettit with prospective speakers shows the commitment Pettit had for the development of a strong agricultural program at Pine Mountain. She was fortunate in the many contacts she had in Kentucky who shared her common interest in developing sustainable agriculture in the eastern part of the state.

A letter written by Marguerite Butler, a PMSS worker, dated September 24, 1917, mentions preparations for the upcoming Fair Day:

Our fair is this Saturday. Mr. Roettinger [Philip Roettinger, lawyer and Board of Trustee member] is coming for it. I have the work in the hands of five committees so I feel quite free. Three men (Mr. R, two professors from state university) and nine women are expected — from Berea, Lexington, St. Louis — were not!

Evelyn K. Wells, a PMSS worker (secretary 1916-1931), provided these observations of the 1917 Community Fair Day:

Gorgeous cold, weather today, after an equinoctial storm this week. Yesterday came the first Harlan County Fair at the School, a most promising beginning, considering the absolute novelty of it. Lots of the displays were the School’s, and we showed coverlets, baskets, sweaters, flowers etc. to encourage people to bring such things another year. The House in the Woods, where the exhibits were shown, is wonderful for combining fresh air and shelter. It was decorated with autumn leaves, flags and bunting, and really looked lovely, with a pile of hand-woven counterpanes heaped in one corner, and wonderful vegetables in another, and candy booths in another, and a long table of dahlias, verbena, calendulas, etc. The livestock were tethered to the surrounding trees.

Only about two hundred people here, many families bringing dogs, dinners and babies. Two men from the State University came as judges and made speeches in the morning, and then we went to the playground and had lamb stew, served from big iron kettles hung on tripods. Then athletic events, and the announcing of premiums. A preacher’s wife from yon side of the mountain brought a basket of exhibits – a glass of apple jelly, a patchwork quilt, a hank of homespun wool, a “proper” axe-handle her husband had made, and a string of her prettiest beans [Foodways – Bean Stringing].

Our nurse this year is Miss Walker [Margaret Walker, nurse] –“Yorkie” — to everyone. She lives at Old Log House. On Fair Day she was busy handing out knitting for bandages, and other first-aid helps, for the women to make….

Source: EVELYN K. WELLS 1917 EXCERPTS OF LETTERS HOME


GALLERY: 1917 Community Fair Day

CONTENTS: 1917 Community Fair Day

  1.  List of Premiums for the County Fair, Pine Mountain Settlement School.
  2.  October 2, 1917. Katherine Pettit to the Editor, Harlan Enterprise (newspaper), Harlan, Kentucky. Pettit encloses a write-up of the County Fair held on the School grounds, September 29th and invites publication. She relates that “The day was a most successful one in every way, and all who attended the Fair spoke not only of the enjoyment of the day but of the interest they felt in the undertaking,”
  3.  October 2, 1917. Text of the write-up of the first Fair at Pine Mountain Settlement School sent to the Harlan Enterprise.
  4.  PAGE 2 OF FULL-TEXT WRITE UP FOR HARLAN ENTERPRISE.
  5.  PAGE 3 OF FULL-TEXT WRITE UP FOR HARLAN ENTERPRISE.
  6.  PAGE 4 OF FULL-TEXT WRITE UP FOR HARLAN ENTERPRISE.
  7. October 2[?], 1917. Newspaper article about the September 29th County Fair Day [from Pettit copy] appearing in the Harlan Enterprise.

BACK TO:

GUIDE TO COMMUNITY FAIR DAYS

SEE ALSO:

COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS

COMMUNITY FAIR DAY – History

COMMUNITY – WHAT IS COMMUNITY?

GUIDE TO SPECIAL AND ANNUAL EVENTS