The History of the Chelsea Community Fair


Undated photo of the Chelsea Fair. Judging by the flared pant legs, the early 1970s, maybe? Photo courtesy of CAHS.

From Chelsea Area Historical Society

On October 3 and 4, 1872, the Chelsea Fair was held on the farm of Dr. R. B. Gates. This fair had a racetrack for horses, displays of flowers, produce, handicrafts, and livestock. People from all over the country attended The fair netted $540 over two days.

The fair has moved around in town since 1872. At one time, the race track and grounds were located where the Methodist Home (Chelsea Retirement Community) is located on West Middle Street.

The first Chelsea Community Fair as we know it today was held on November 13, 1937, at the Public School Auditorium (formerly located at the corner of East and Harrison). With a budget of only $100 for prize money, farmers and townspeople were invited to display items such as grain, potatoes, apples, vegetables, corn, wool, eggs, handicrafts, needlework, canning, poultry, and livestock, rural education exhibits, and individual education exhibits. Everything was in place at 9 am, with judging beginning at 10 am. The livestock and poultry were housed in a tent south of the gym.

Today, this fair has expanded to a weeklong event beginning on Sunday, August 21, that culminates on Saturday with a popular parade through town. Traditionally, much candy is thrown for onlookers to catch or pick up!

More information on this year's fair can be found at

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