J.B.'s Journal: East Texas State Fair

EAST TEXAS (KYTX) - The East Texas State Fair recently celebrated another successful run, but is also marking the 100th anniversary of its beginnings in its current location. Tonight in the return of J.B.'s Journals, Sheriff J.B. Smith will show us the past, the present and the future of the fair.

"100 years ago this year."

"Fair board went to Tyler in 1912 encouraged them to buy 75 acres just west of downtown for purpose of hosting the fair."

The land cost $4,500; giving the fair a permanent location.

"The fair changed from a horticultural affair, fruits, vegetables, crops, to a livestock oriented fair when it came to this location 100 years ago."

The East Texas State Fair archives show everything from old newspapers…

"This was the first year the fair opened after World War II."

As well as minute books dating back to 1928.

"Wonderful stories, wonderful history, must be preserved."

A program from 1913…..and many old photographs are also part of the collection.

"The oldest building, A, creative arts, originally called the women's building built in 1929, the very first one on Front Street."

I have worked at the East Texas State Fair for 42 years and seen the crowds grow larger each year to an attendance of over 250,000 people.

"It's a place where families and communities still come together."

"The fair touches all the senses."

"You got sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste, we do it all."

This model shows what the fair hopes to build in the future at a new location called "The Park of East Texas." A place for the next generation of fair-goers.

"The uniqueness of fairs and the historical part of fairs should always remain part of our society."

For CBS 19, I'm Sheriff J.B. Smith and that's my story. 

The economic impact of the East Texas State Fair is over seven million dollars making it the largest event in East Texas. The State Fair of Texas in Dallas is the largest in the U.S. in attendance with over 2 million visitors each year.




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