St. Joseph County 4-H Fair
Entertaining St. Joseph County since 1841
Learn a bit of the history, mission, and the fairboard of the St. Joseph County 4H Fairgrounds.
The purpose of 4-H Fair Inc. is to foster, encourage, and provide the means and facilities for the education of young people and adults, in proper and improved methods of agriculture and its related fields of conservation and home industry with particular emphasis on the programs of the National and Local 4-H Organizations.
We are selling bricks with engraved names on them and using them to build planters, walls and walkways throughout the fairgrounds.
Download the order form here: Brick Order Form
St. Joseph County Fair is a 501(c)(3) organization, and is one of the two privately owned fairgrounds in the state of Indiana. In order to keep the grounds functioning and well maintained, we rely on fundraising events as well as contributions from individuals and local businesses.
History of The Grounds
The St. Joseph County 4-H Fair is celebrating many years of continuous fairs, but there were earlier fairs held in St. Joseph county and under different names.
October 11, 1841
First fair was held
October 26, 1851
Another fair was held on the lawn of the Old Court House in South Bend
Fair was moved to Mishawaka
Moved back to South Bend on the comer of Washington Ave and North Taylor Street on 2 acres and continued until 1857
Yi acres was purchased on Portage Ave and North Scott Streets in South Bend. The fair lasted until 1872. During the Civil War the fairgrounds was occupied by troops and was known as Camp Rose.
1873 to 1880
The Agriculture Society became known as Northern Indiana Fair and relocated the fair on what is now know as Western Ave.
County Commissioners along with the Old Agriculture Society bought 40 acres between South Bend and Mishawaka and named the fair Farmers Union Fairs. Horse Racing was major activity.
The name changed to the St. Joseph County Agriculture Society. The 40 acres is what we know today as Potawatomi Park. In 1906 the land was given to the City of South Bend.
4-H and Extension Service was established
lst Interstate Fair was established at Springbrook Park (later know as Playland Park). This fair continued until 1925.
Vocational Agriculture and Home Economics was started in the township schools
Fair moved to North Liberty where the Old Hinkel and Masonic Buildings were used. Cattle was shown in the street. Expenses for the fair was paid by the Chamber of Commerce, Township Schools, Farm Bureau, County Commissioners and County Council.
Fair was moved to Lakeville. Livestock was housed in tents, Home Economic projects at elementary building. Beef Cattle were auctioned. An amusement area consisted of Ferris Wheel, Whip, Merry-go-around.
Fair utilized the Union Township High School and grounds. 1941…Brother Leo from Norte Dame Farms formed a committee to purchase lottery calves. 10 cents was charged for admission for adults and children over 12.
Lakeville Lions took over from the Lakeville Business men’s Association the responsibility for putting on the fair with the St. Joe County Ag. Society.
Fair was moved to Playland Park. WSBT radio took over daily broadcast of fair events and the Tribune the publicity. Playland Park was ideal with pe1manent buildings that could be used for exhibits, race track, permanent rides.
Incorporated the name as St. Joseph County 4-H Fair.
Purchased 40 acres on comer of Ironwood and Jackson in South Bend.
Site was cleared and 2 buildings were built. One large one for the 4-H exhibits and the small building for commercial vendors. Gooding Amusement Company provided the rides.
Addition to grandstand and a roof for grandstand was constructed along with a new stage.
St. Joseph County 4-H Fair turned 90! Complete with a 9 day celebration! The Fairboard increased to a 27 member board as the fair saw increased growth.
Celebrated our 96th fair
The Fairboard Directors
Kristen Sikorski-Conklin, President email@example.com
Karen Matthys, Vice-President firstname.lastname@example.org
At Large Director
Ed Switalski, Secretary email@example.com
City of South Bend
Cody Shonkwiler firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Mishawaka
Donna Davis email@example.com
Phil Denham firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristen Sikorski-Conklin email@example.com
Courtney Filipski firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Klopfenstein email@example.com
Monica Cook firstname.lastname@example.org
Denny Fisher email@example.com
Mike Birk firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Meyer email@example.com
Stephanie Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org
Harvey Mills email@example.com
Tricia Markin firstname.lastname@example.org
At Large Directors
Sara Jaworski email@example.com
Toby Manges firstname.lastname@example.org
Angi Kinas email@example.com
Amanda Gill firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Millar email@example.com
Richard Stein firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Lizzi email@example.com
Matt Schafer firstname.lastname@example.org
Tami Gilmer email@example.com