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Lee County Fair

Lee County Fair
1100 North Main Street

Lee County, Iowa Fair History

On July 17, 1841 a group of people met at West Point, Iowa and organized an Agricultural Society. Many of the finest honed cattle of the Durham breed were brought in and exhibited. This exhibition has gone on the records as the first held west of the Mississippi River, as well as the first in Lee County and in Iowa.

The next year a three day exhibition was held in Keokuk, Iowa in Lee County on the grounds of the Iowa Medical College. It may have been the first to enforce the ruling that every animal exhibited must be worth at least as much as the premium for which it was shown. Premiums were offered amounting to $588.00 the total amount paid was $219.00. The Society decided on a more extensive promotion for the next year.

In 1855 the Agricultural Society moved back to West Point and first titled it as the Lee County Fair. In 1856 the West Point citizens pledged $500.00 for new fairgrounds and voted to make the town the official and permanent site of the Lee County Fair. From that year until 1870 the fair was held there annually the last week in September.

The town of Fort Madison became the favored site in 1870 after residents had prepared fairgrounds and erected exhibition buildings, also offering other unnamed inducements. It was held the last week in September and was rescheduled through 1874.

The county fair lapsed from 1874 to 1878. It was then reorganized and 20 acres of ground was acquired from a resident from Donnellson, Iowa. When choosing the site at Donnellson it was decided as being nearer the geographical center of the county than its rivals. Since 1878 the Lee County Fair is held regularly at the Donnellson site. 1930 the first night time fair was held. The fair was cancelled in 1943 due to World War II.

The 1950s were difficult years in Lee County. In October 1953 a tornado completely destroyed the amphitheater. However due to
cooperative hard working men a new bleacher type amphitheater was ready by July for the 1954 fair. In 1955 the fair was cancelled on week before opening. A local doctor, J.L. Saar, declared no public gatherings should be held because of the polio epidemic in Lee County and especially in Donnellson.

The rains in 1992 hurt the attendance at the fair, however all events were held. More ground was purchased in 1996 and several new buildings have been added to the grounds. The Lee County Fair continues to grow thanks to the support from businesses and the great many volunteers.


Recent News

Lee County Fair 2020

The fair has the honor of being Iowa's Oldest County Fair and offers a variety of activities and entertainment for the entire family. The fairgrounds are easy to navigate and it is only a short walk between all of the fair buildings and events. …

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Lee County Fair 2019

The fair has the honor of being Iowa's Oldest County Fair and offers a variety of activities and entertainment for the entire family. The fairgrounds are easy to navigate and it is only a short walk between all of the fair buildings and events. …

Read More »

Lee County Fair 2018

Schedule of Events: July 11, 2018: 9:00 am: 4H/FFA Horse Show - Horse Arena 2:00 p - 7:00 pm: Art Hall - Open 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Kenny's Funland Carnival - $15 wristband or individual tickets 5:00 pm: Fish Fry - FFA Building 5:00 pm: Blue Ribbon…

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Lee County Fair 2017

Schedule: Wednesday, July 5, 2017 9:00 am: 4H/FFA Horse Show - Horse Arena 2:00-7:00 pm: Art Hall - Open 5:00 pm: Blue Ribbon Diner under Grandstand - Open 6:00 pm: Lee Co. Fair Jr. Queen & Crowning of the 2017 Lee Co. Fair Queen - Show Barn…

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Lee County Fair 2016

Schedule: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 9am: 4H/FFA Horse Show - Horse Arena 2pm-7pm: Art Hall - Open 5pm: Blue Ribbon Diner under Grandstand - Open 6pm-11pm: Kenny's Funland Carnival - Open 6pm: Lee Co. Fair Jr. Queen & Crowning of the 2016 Lee Co.…

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Lee County Fair 2015

Schedule of Events: Wednesday, July 8th: 9a 4H/FFA Horse Show - Horse Arena 2p-7p Art Hall - OPEN 5p Blue Ribbon Diner under Grandstand - OPEN 5p Kenny's Funland Carnival - OPEN 6p Lee Co. Fair Jr. Queen Crowning & Crowning of the 2014 Lee…

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Lee County Fair 2013

Schedule: Wednesday, July 10, 2013: 6:30 pm: Lee Co. Fair Jr. Queen Crowning & Crowning Of The 2013 Lee Co. Fair Queen - $ 7:3o pm: Impact Pro Wrestling Featuring Local Noah Cutler - $ (Approx.) 9:30 pm: Fireworks - $…

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