FAIRS AND SHOWS. A fair is a peri odical meeting of merchants in an open market held at a particular place and generally for the transaction of a particular class of busi ness. The origin of fairs is obviously to be traced to the convenience of bringing together at stated times the buyers and sellers of the stock-produce of a district. Fairs are generally held in or near towns, but from their nature are specially adapted to the convenience of country dealers and their customers. Two curi ous facts are to be noted in the history of fairs. In Europe the numerous festivals of the church afforded the most favorable opportunity for the establishment of these markets. This associa tion is indicated in the German name of a fair, which is identical with that used for the cere mony of the mass. A fair generally brings a concourse of people into the town in which it is held, and gives it something of a holiday appearance. Advantage has frequently been taken of this concourse, either by the persons assembled themselves or by the purveyors of various amusements, to add entertainment to business, and as the business of a particular fair declined it has often, instead of being abandoned, been gradually converted into a periodical opportunity for a saturnalia of amusement. Thus religion, business and diver sion have come to be associated in the idea of a fair.
In the Middle Ages fairs were specially privileged and chartered by princes and magis trates, special temporary tribunals were even es tablished for their use. It was then the custom, which in some places still remains, to make a public proclamation of the commencement and duration of the fair. The goods sold at fairs were then of much greater value, as well as variety, than at present, embracing fabrics of all kinds, as well as jewelry. In some parts of the Continent the practice still prevails of purchas ing clothing at fairs. Fairs existed in ancient as well as modern times, and are to be found in all parts of the world. In the East they are of great magnitude and importance. At Mecca, during the annual pilgrimages, and at Hardwar in Ajmir, a resort of pilgrims in Hindustan, two of the greatest fairs of the East, we find again the association between commerce and re ligion. According to Prescott fairs were regu larly held in the principal cities of Mexico every fifth day, being the recognized substitute for shops. A fair for the sale of slaves was held at Azcapozales, near the capital. At the prin cipal fair, held at the City of Mexico, the num ber of visitors reached 40,000 to 50,000. Here the same arrangement prevailed as in the Euro pean fairs of the Middle Ages. A court of 12 judges, clothed with absolute authority, main tained perfect order in this great concourse.
The Easter and Michaelmas fairs at Leipzig, the fairs of Frankfort-on-the-Main, of Lyons in France, and Nijnci-Novgorod in Russia, are among the most important fairs of the present day in Europe. The fairs of Great Britain now
mostly consist of the weekly market-days of country towns and certain great agricultural meetings, or trysts, as they are called in Scot land, chiefly for the sale of cattle and horses, such as the Falkirk Tryst. There are also, espe cially in Scotland, a considerable number of the hiring fairs. Among the most celebrated of the fairs which have been turned into saturnalia are the celebrated Donnybrook fair in the county of Dublin; Bartholomew and Greenwich fairs, London; and Glasgow fair.
In America the State and county fairs have developed into periodical expositions of agri culture, horticulture, stock-raising, manufactur ing, domestic science, education, transportation, good roads movement, etc. Most of the States have their State fairs, supported partially by legislative appropriation, and often with per manent buildings. Many county fairs are regu larly incorporated companies, composed of farmers and merchants who make a little money out of them. There is now an American Asso ciation of Fairs and Expositions, comprising in its membership 52 organizations representing State, county and provincial fairs. The secre tary is Charles Downing, of Indianapolis, Ind.
The National Corn Association holds ex positions nearly every year and has members in 35 States. The 1913 exposition was at Co lumbia, S. C., and the 1914 at Dallas, Tex.
The slogan of the Association is "The Better ment of Agriculture.° It has three classes of exhibits: (1) educational exhibits from agri cultural colleges and experiment stations; (2) competitive exhibits between the States; (3) educational exhibits from the Federal Depart ment of Agriculture. Four trophies are awarded: Indiana 10-ear corn trophy, value $1,000; Colorado oat trophy, value $1,500; Kel logg single car trophy, value $1,000; Farm and Fireside wheat trophy, $48,000 in cash premiums.
Business The fair is a country proposition, adapted to the display of agricul tural products. To supply a similar demand in the cities for the display largely of manufac tures and exploitation of new goods, the busi ness show has developed. It seems to have been a growth from the poultry and horse shows. When the bicycle was in its prime regular bicycle shows were held annually in the large cities of the United States. With the disap pearance of the bicycle show the automobile show developed, and this is perhaps the largest attended show now held annually at Madison Square Garden, New York. Business shows are also held for the display of business office con veniences, typewriters, desks, dictographs and the thousand and one appliances now found in counting-rooms and bookkeeping departments. Printing shows are held for the display of the machinery and products of the graphic arts. Each of the more prominent industries at times has its shows, conducted either by asso ciations or by speculators who sell spaces to houses that desire to exhibit. See EXPOSITIONS,