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Years of the SCFF

Steele County Free Fair August 12-17.  ENJOY…Here are a few facts:

The very first SCFF was held in 1860…

  • 1883 and 1884, the Minnesota State Fair was in Owatonna.  There is a poster in the Muckle Museum.
  • 1916, a group of Ellendale businessmen made an offer to move the fair…by 1918, new buildings were on the Steele County Fair fairgrounds in Owatonna.
  • Luverne Wanous, who played his concertina at the SCFF since 1948, is retired this year.
  • A grasshopper invasion caused the SCFF to be only one day in 1874.
  • The fair in 1943 was cancelled due to WWII.  Gas shortages meant exhibits and entertainment could not make to the fair.
  • 1923-1969, butter making competition was one of the biggest attractions at the fair.  Over 30 Steele County butter makers competed…today only one butter maker left in Steele County.
  • Airplane rides were included as a fair attraction in 1924…the race track was used as the runway.
  • “Slide of Life”, from the Courthouse to Central Park, was a big thrill ride held downtown Owatonna in 1906.

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