Newspaper Archive of
Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
September 2, 1992     Hells Canyon Journal
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September 2, 1992

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Page 20 Hells Canyon Journal September 2, 1992 by Estella Summers "I have many fond memo- ties of our Baker County Fair in Halfway, having worked at the needlework booth for 42 years. It was 1944 that Genevieve Maley called me, saying she couldn't find any- one to help her and Mrs. Ione Crimmins. I thought that would be for one year, but every year I was asked, I ac- cepted. "LeRoy Wright was county agent, and he would bring his two office girls and stay in Halfway until the Fair was over. The girls would accept the exhibits and help the judges by keeping records pf prizes. Mr. Wright was so helpful, and told the workers to put on a nice display, and if we needed to buy anything, to sign slips and give them to him. "I have been told that it is the duty of the county agent to help put on the county fair. After Mr. Wright retired, the Baker Fair board said we had to hire a manager to oversee the fair, that they would no longer send their agent or his girls to help. That made extra work for everyone. We had to be at the hall by 8 a.m. and stay until the night watch- man came at 8 p.m. -- long days for everyone. "One time Mr. Wright sug- gested we hang crepe paper streamers to decorate the building. I went to the store and bought fall colors of crepe paper. All the workers helped hang the strips; it did look nice, but the next morning they were sagging. We had to re-do the tacking, a real job. =Since we had sawdust ahavings on tbe ground, some- one always sprinkled water Fairs in Halfway Remembered after the workers left, to keep down the dust. The extra moisture caused the paper to stretch and come down. That was the only time we did that. The workers always went down before the hall was opened for the exhibits and cleaned, burned the trash, and put new paper on all our tables and shelves. We also hosed down the building. "Halfway had a local fair which started in, or around, 1922, with exhibits coming from Eagle Valley, Robinette, Homestead, and Pine Valley. There was no building the first year; displays were in a tent. There were more horse races and bucking horses than anything else for the one-day rodeo and fair. That fair was held in the middle of September. Then, in 1932, the Baker Fair Board came to Halfway and asked the board to make this a Baker County Fair, so we could draw state money for our fair. Ken Crawford was a board mem- ber and told me the Baker board said if Halfway would accept their offer, they would never take the fair back to Baker. Mr. Crawford went with me to see the county agent last summer to look up records of that meeting. The county agent said he knew nothing about the records. They should have been stored there. Mr. Crawford has always been a good supporter and attends every fair. He also brought vegetables to exhibit. "The Baker board wanted our fair board to deed the land to the Baker County Fair, but our Board refused; since we had acquired the land from Chet Maley, they felt it wouldn't be right to do this. Local ranchers and busi- nessmen had also contributed money to help acquire that land. The Baker board said they would build a beautiful, large exhibit hallifthe Baker, County Fair owned the land. "An extension was added on the west end, makingroom for 4-H and F.F.A exhibits. At one time it was necessary to have some of the booths on the north side also, as both of those organizations decorated booths, 'and sometimes the Baker F.F.A. had a booth, too. The Baker board did help with some of thebarns for the 4-H and livestock. Our boys had sheep and calves at the fair and won many rib- boris. It was a busy time for us, as their animals had tobe cared for, so we were often on the road back and forth to the fairgrounds. "The Baker board insisted a sign, Baker Oounty Fair' be printed on top of our build- ings in large letters, and they are still there. "After our local fair became a county fair, the Fair was held on Labor Day weekend;- a two-day fair at first, with exhibits accepted from Sat- urday at 1 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday. A few years later another day was added, and exhibits were accepted on Friday at 1 p.m. to Saturday at 10 a.m. Judging was started soon after 10 a.m. "Labor Day was known as Saker Day.' Many Baker businessmen could be seen at our fair that day. Sometimes they would send their Drum and Bugle Corp to be in our parade on Labor Day. UAll thoseyears I worked, I never saw a parade or rodeo. Mrs. Maley had us stay in the hall to keep our eye on our exhibits. I am pleased to say we never lost any needlework, and none was ever damaged. I had ladies call before the fair and ask if I were work- ing; if so, they would bring their work to exhibit. "I wish I could remember who was on the early boards of our fair and at what time it became the County fair. I do have a 1937 program, which lists the board members president, Hari'y DeLolag;M. Cooper, Vice-President; W.W. Evans, Secretary-Treasurer. Other board members were Joe Samples, G.W. Bussard, Sylvester Marker, G.W. Miller, C.A. Gulick, Percy I HENRY MEHLHORN AND EARL WHITELY at the Fair. I=~to J of F.stok Ik~mem Laird, and C. C. Huff. Harry DeLong, M. Cooper and W.W. Evans were also on the Baker board. There were always three Halfway members who met with the Baker board. Manyyears later they allowed us only one board member, which wasn't right. "Other early board mem- bers I can remember were Ie0uis Laird, Norv Greener, Harry Alexander, and Tom Jones, who was depot agent at Robinette. I am sure there were others I have forgotten. In 1937 Percy Laird was man- ager of Arena Events; Buck- ing Judges were Captain Continued on page 21 OFFICIAL BAKER COUNTY FAIR HELD UNDER AUSPICES OF BAKER COUNTY FAIR BOARD AT HALFWAY, ORE. SEPTEMBER 6 and 7, 1937 MONDAY 1937 FAIR & RODEO PROGRAM--dedicated to the then late Danny Summers,