County museum in search of old County Fair memories

To commemorate the 100th year since the dawning of our County Fair, the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia needs old memories to complete an exhibit on its complete history, which on Saturday, Aug. 6, will decorate the walls just inside the County museum. The exhibit will continue through Oct.29.

Museum curator Pat Roble has been gathering items to complete the exhibit; however, it is not enough, and she needs additional memorabilia from the earliest County Fair days, she said. “It’s important to show how different the fair was back then, when it was a kind of a big deal,” she said. “The fair has changed a lot.”

During the early days, schools were canceled the Friday of the Fair, and teachers and students were expected to attend, as each school proudly displayed their exhibits. The Fair also took place in what is now the County Complex, now feet away from the museum itself.

Roble is looking for a multitude of items, ranging from photographs, tickets, premium books, photographs and ribbons. Written accounts, such as articles, – and even diary accounts – are also accepted to be displayed in the exhibit.

Some ribbons dating back to the 20’s and 30’s have been collected to use in the exhibit, but how they were won is a mystery. “We don’t know what was won with those ribbons,” she said, “so it would be more meaningful to have ribbons that we know what it had been associated with.”

Local historian Mary Chalkley, 74, who has been involved in preserving the County Fair for a number of years, has attended the Fair since she was nine years old. She will be contributing much of her own memories to the exhibit as well.

“It’s our history that we want to carry on in Chesterfield County,” she said, “ because there are so many fairs that used to be but are no longer operating now. So this is one way to let people know that what went on way back yonder still exists today … It’s just our history that we were brought up in, and we’re trying to keep some of the history still here in Chesterfield.”

The museum is accepting loaned items up until the first week in August, and those interested in participating or submitting items can either call the museum at 768-7311 or visit its location at 6805 W. Krause Rd. in the Chesterfield County Complex. Items will be returned to owners after the exhibit concludes in late October. Interested persons may also email Roble at RobleP@chesterfield.gov.

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