History of Greene County Fairgrounds
The Greene County Agricultural Society is first mentioned in the Commissioners’ Journal in June 1833. It was through an order by the Commissioners that, “...notice be given in the Xenia Territory...that there will be a meeting held at the Court House in Xenia on the last Friday in June for the purpose of organizing an Agricultural Society to be entitled the Greene County Agriculture Society." Officially, the Society was organized on July 30, 1834.
While the State Legislature made fairs possible in 1837, the first recorded fair was held in and around the Court House square in 1839, which makes the 2009 Greene County Fair, the 170th one to be held. The Court House became too small to house all the displays of produce and needle work, so, during the second year of existence, the Society leased land near Xenia on Columbus Pike where the fair was held for the next 13-14 years.
The fair was moved several times due to the interest and growth of the event. In April 1886, land was platted and known as the “Fairground Addition" to the City of Xenia; however, before the fair could move to the new site, residents from Jamestown and the vicinity demanded that the new fairgrounds be located on Xenia-Jamestown Pike. Xenia residents, on the other hand, contended that the fair should be located near the county seat. Hence, a new society was formed, called the Union Agricultural Society, which held its own exhibition at Jamestown. So actually two fairs were held in 1884. However, to clear up the actual date of the fair, it seems that the date for the first fair as we know it - and the one which has been continuously operating since 1839 on the property on Fairground Road - is said to be the oldest fair west of the Alleghenies.
The fair basically began as a 3-day event which consisted of pulling contests, plowing contests, horse racing along a measured course on Main street, products from the spinning wheel and looms, and, of course, vegetables and flowers. Several buildings were erected along with the grandstand - a metal one with a cement floor beneath in which there are spaces to exhibit various items. The fair has been held at various times of the year from August to October; however, it is now held the last few days of July and/or the first week of August.
During the years, many buildings have been updated and new buildings built. In the year 2000, a tornado hit the fairgrounds and destroyed 17 buildings and totally destroyed all the large trees on the property. There was talk among many that the longest fair west of the Allegany’s would be stopped in its tracks by the tornado, but NOT SO. July 2001 found the Greene County Fair rebuilt and up and running thanks to the hard work of the Board of Directors who spent many hours late at night making decisions that led to more decisions and then to a state-of-the art fairgrounds. Buildings now are available to be rented for livestock shows, reunions, weddings, receptions, etc., and the show now goes on - not just at fair time, but all year long.