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Scenes from fairs of yesteryear

Posted 24 July 2013 at 12:00 am

By Bill Lattin, county historian

This photo, taken circa 1905, shows many people in attendance at the Orleans County Fair in Albion. The large building at the right with a cupola supporting the flag was known as Floral Hall. It was the main exhibition building where all kinds of displays were judged. In the distance is the Dining Hall and to the left of that another exhibition building. In the skyline looking east we see the steeples of the First Presbyterian Church (left) and the Albion First Baptist Church (right).

This picture was taken 110 years ago in 1903 on the race track at the old Orleans County fairgrounds. The photo was taken by Marc Cole and shows three fast-moving sulkies, all in a blur. The driver of the middle sulky, which is slightly ahead, is Jack Roach. The driver of the sulky to the right is Harry Lattin. Daily races at the fair drew huge crowds years ago, as seen here. Both men and women are shown enjoying this popular event.

This photo was taken in Sept. 1929 when Charles Howard had the idea for creating the world’s largest apple pie at the Orleans County Fair. Joseph Dibley is pictured with the rolling pin he made for the pie. The clipping is from a city newspaper.

Here is the report from the newspaper:

“To Use Huge Rolling Pin in Making World’s Largest Pie”

ALBION, Sept. 8, 1929 – A huge rolling pin is expected to keep some comic strip characters away from the Orleans County Fair which opens in two weeks. Those whose helpmeets have the rolling pin complex will undoubtedly be absent when this specimen is used to smooth out the dough for the world’s largest pie.

Shown with Joseph Dibley, local blacksmith, who made it, the roller is four feet long with eight-inch handles and it is eight inches in diameter. Made of fir, it is estimated that it weighs about 60 pounds.