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121-year-old Burnet County fair finally gets a ribbon (cutting)

Burnet County Area Fair

The 2024 Burnet County Area Fair is June 7-8 in Burnet. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Burnet County Area Fair has been around since 1903 but has never had a ribbon-cutting. That changes at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, at the Burnet County AgriLife building, 701 N. Vandeveer St. in Burnet. The Burnet and Bertram chambers of commerce are teaming up to honor the much-celebrated event.

“We’ve never had a ribbon-cutting before,” said one of the fair’s organizers, Lynda French, in an interview with DailyTrib.com. “(The Bertram chamber) approached us with a ribbon-cutting, and we just thought we would do it ahead of time and get the word out for a little publicity.”

The 2024 fair is June 7-8 in the AgriLife building. With free admission, fair-goers can browse exhibits of arts, crafts, food, and more, enjoy live music, and shop local vendors. The crowd favorite ice cream crank-off is 2 p.m. June 7.

FAIR HISTORY

The first recorded Burnet County fair was in 1903 in Bertram at what is now the city’s baseball field. It was held each year in August and, by the late 1920s, was drawing crowds of over 6,000 people. The county had a population of fewer than 10,000 at the time, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau

The fair was moved from Bertram to Burnet in the 1930s. Livestock exhibits were in the Burnet square until 1967, while the other exhibits filled up any available building, including the school cafeteria and VFW hall.

In 1967, the Burnet County Fairgrounds opened at 1301 Houston Clinton Drive, where the fair was held until it ceased to operate in 1990. According to Burnet historian Carole Goble, the Burnet County Fair and Rodeo Association didn’t have enough manpower to run both the fair and the rodeo, so the fair fell by the wayside for 30 years.

The event was revived in 2010 by a coalition of community organizations: the Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association, Texas Education Association of Burnet County, and Burnet County AgriLife Extension Office. 

The Burnet County Area Fair continued to grow after its rebirth and came to include the Highland Lakes Quilt Guild and Bluebonnet Button Club. It was held at the Burnet Community Center in 2014 and moved in 2021 to its current site.

dakota@thepicayune.com

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