These pictures tell much about the history of the Clay County Fair. From the covers of the fair books to the earliest known photos of the original grounds, they show the splendor of these grounds with its grand stands, to the track for harness racing, and the conversion to a baseball field. The cover of the 1912 program proudly states this is the seventh annual fair giving us the date of 1905 as that of the first fair.
The fair was held at the Moss fairground for a number of year, with the last in being in1976. During some of the years when there was no county fair, the Clay County Extension Service, Clay County School System and the Clay County Commission sponsored a Youth Fair. It was held during the 1980s and maybe before. This was a good outlet for our youth to display their talents without a county fair.
The Youth Fairs were held on Fridays and Saturdays. The locations alternated among Celina K-8, Hermitage Springs School, and the old Celina High School. The schools held track and field days during the Youth Fair. Activities such as the sack race, potato race, and balloon race were held, along with track and field races and other athletic activities such as volleyball. There were also dog shows and horse shows.
The entries into the exhibit area were judged on Friday while school was in session. The entries were much the same as the entries are today in our county fair. After the judging was completed the kids were let out of class to go and see how the items were judged and see what they had won. There were five places and five ribbons awarded in each category. The exhibit room would be filled with bales of hay, huge pumpkins that were brought in using wheel barrows, shocks of corn and many other farm products.
The Extension Service organized the event. The school system provided the location and was very, cooperative, and helpful with the activities. The kids were allowed to bring their entries to the fair on the school busses. The county commission allotted money for the prizes.
The Clay County Youth Fair was patterned after the Trousdale County Youth Fair. Fentress, Trousdale and Clay Counties had no county fairs at the time. They all held Youth Fairs. These youth fairs were works of cooperation and good will within the county and the area. They filled a void for the county youth of that time in our histories. The youth fair continued through the early 90's.