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Cleanliness and Decency at the Fair

7/8/2016:

There was a great deal of excitement in Fargo on this date in 1935. Morning showers did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd that gathered at the Great Northern railroad station. They came to watch the unloading of a train more than forty cars in length. The United Shows of America had arrived in Fargo late the night before after a week-long stand in Minot. The unloading of the carnival train began early in the morning. Tractors pulled 97 heavy wagons from the railroad station to the fairgrounds. Another crowd gathered to watch the roustabouts erect tents and rides. The work went quickly, and by that afternoon the company had transformed 10 acres of prairie into an exciting world of entertainment.

The United Shows of America was billed as one of the largest traveling entertainment companies in the country. It promised “cleanliness and decency.” All of their employees wore uniforms and were trained to be courteous. One of the featured entertainers was Miss Jade Rhodora. Miss Rhodora was slated to present a series of interpretive classical dances titled, “Scandals of the Century.”

Agriculture was a centerpiece of the fair, with a display of livestock considered “one of the greatest in the last decade.” There were over 100 head of cattle to be judged. There was much expectation that the Angus cattle entered by L.B. Hanna would be especially competitive. The draft horse entries included Belgians, Clydesdales, and percherons. Over 150 animals were entered in the 4H livestock show and contest. There were also entries of sheep, hogs, and dairy cows.

One feature of the fair was a baby clinic. Doctor J.G. Dillon’s clinic was located in a new, permanent building. The clinic weighed and measured children, and each child received a doctor’s examination. There was no charge for the service.

Fairgoers were promised a wide variety of entertainment. Rides included the carousel and a ferris wheel. Harness racing was scheduled, as was a rodeo. A parade through Fargo included rodeo horses, the 72 piece boys’ band from Devils Lake, and entertainers with the carnival. The opening and closing days ended with fireworks.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

Sources:

Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, 8 July, 1935

“Carnival Tents Go Up for Fair”

“Race Program is Under Way”