Looking back: County fair adventures

Published 11:53 am Wednesday, July 5, 2023

By Linda Evenson

Photos courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum

The Freeborn County Fair has a history of great entertainment, exhibits, attractions, races and commercial vendors. The 1931 fair was no exception. It promoted a double public wedding, special 4-H exhibits, different acts every day and racing ace Sig Haugdahl. Albert Lea Day was observed on Friday, and businesses agreed to close at 1 o’clock so employees could attend the fair.

Email newsletter signup

A truly remarkable surprise at the 1931 fair was the birth of a baby. The parents were traveling with the carnival and working at the midway. A physician and nurse arrived in time for the delivery. The new mother planned to name the infant after her grandmothers. Fair attendees suggested the baby be named Alberta Lea.

A hundred years ago, the lights on the grounds went out just as the last act was presenting at the Grandstand. It was very dark but the crowd remained orderly. Everyone remained in place. Before the lights returned, the Albert Lea band played two spirited marches and the fireworks started.