Danbury in Fairfield County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
Danbury Fair Days
– The Museum in the Streets –
— Danbury, Connecticut —
The origins of the Danbury Fair began in 1821 when the Fairfield Agricultural Society held gatherings in Elmwood Park on Main Street. The event gave farmers an opportunity to discuss farming methods and showcase the fruits of their labor.
Hat manufacturer Rundle & White organized The Danbury Farmers & Manufacturers Society in 1869. The new organization held its first fair in a “rough board, one-story building and small tent borrowed from the Barnum & Bailey Circus” on the site of a new trotting track called Pleasure Park.
Beginning in the 1870s, the first week of October became known as Fair Week and Main Street decorated for an annual kickoff parade. Streetcars ran from City Hall Square to the fair grounds. By 1901, the influx of out-of-town visitors required special trains to accommodate the crowds.
In 1946, John W. Leahy became the sole owner of the Danbury Fair. His keen showmanship helped propel the status of the event into one of the biggest of its kind in the East. In addition to the agricultural and livestock displays, he transformed it into a virtual city of paved expanses, modern exhibit buildings
The horse races of the early years evolved into auto races in 1904 and were followed by midget car races from 1940 to 1964. The Southern New York Racing Association made its debut during Fair Week in 1951 and continued to fill the grandstands for summertime stock car races until the last fair was held in 1981.
The once hallowed grounds are now home to The Danbury Fair Mall.
Erected by Danbury Museum & Historical Society. (Marker Number 10.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Entertainment.
Location. 41° 23.738′ N, 73° 27.209′ W. Marker is in Danbury, Connecticut, in Fairfield County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Library Place, on the right when traveling north on Main Street. Located in front of the post office. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 265 Main Street, Danbury CT 06810, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Trains, Trolleys & Transportation (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles Edward Ives – The Father of Modern Music (within shouting distance of this marker); Marian Anderson (within shouting distance of this marker); The Danbury Fire Department (within shouting distance of 248 Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); The Seal of the City (within shouting distance of this marker); Higher Education (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Danbury – The Hat City (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Danbury.
Also see . . . Danbury Fair on Wikipedia. (Submitted on January 8, 2014, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on January 8, 2014, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 425 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 8, 2014, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. 3. submitted on October 12, 2015.