Free Family Fun for 96 Years

the Rogers County Free Fair celebrated its inaugural year in 1914.

By: Susan Erler | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: September 2010

Stephanie Cates, Samantha Cates, Bryan Cates and 
Kennedy Cates display some of the homemade items they are entering in the Rogers County Free Fair.

Stephanie Cates, Samantha Cates, Bryan Cates and Kennedy Cates display some of the homemade items they are entering in the Rogers County Free Fair.

The year 1914 was a busy one. The first steam boat passed through the Panama Canal; in Washington D.C., the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial was set in place; Paramount Pictures was formed; Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day; and the Rogers County Free Fair celebrated its inaugural year.

Since then, a lot of things have changed, but the Rogers County Free Fair remains largely untouched. The original vision of offering local residents the chance to showcase their best crops, pets, farm animals, and home economics items is still intact, recognized and rewarded.

This year’s fair will be held September 15-20 at the Claremore Expo Center, located at 400 Veteran’s Parkway. With categories ranging from dog show obedience classes to best environmental poster, there really is a division for absolutely everyone in your family. One local family has decided to make the fair a family project, with each member placing at least one item into the fair. Members of the Cates family have their own reasons for enjoying the fair, but for the most part, as Samantha Cates says, “Mostly it is all about having fun!” This year, oldest sister Stephanie plans to enter a Christmas wreath she decorated, along with a whimsical ceramic frog. Samantha has made a pillowcase and a ceramic greyhound that looks almost like the real thing. Bryan will be showing off his natural talent for building things, with a Lego helicopter and a ceramic racecar as his entries. New to the show this year, cousin Kennedy Cates will be entering a woven basket and a ceramic fish.

Stephanie enjoys the fun of entering, but has to admit that she has two specific reasons for doing so. “I like creating things that I can give as gifts, for one thing; but if I win a blue ribbon, I earn a cash prize too! It can be easy money!” Spoken like a true teenager, but still accurate. Winners in many of the categories receive cash prizes, and everyone can use a little extra in the wallet these days.

Cindy Cates, mom to these potential blue ribbon winners, has her own reasons for encouraging her children to enter into the fair. “I think that being involved in so many different activities gives them the opportunity learn a lot, and they enjoy it!” she states. “It also helps them learn to be more outgoing. This helps them a lot with their confidence.”

The first step to entering into the show is to stop by the OSU Extension office, located in the basement of the Rogers County Courthouse, to pick up a free fair catalog. This 112-page periodical gives a detailed account of each and every event, including the category and classes, the levels that are to be judged, and the prizes to be awarded. Some are plaques, some are cash, but all are designed to give the winner a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

The fair is open to all Rogers County residents or members of the Rogers County FFA, 4-H Club, FHA or HCE groups. See the catalog for livestock rules and the show ring code of ethics, along with lots of other valuable information.

Although you may not want to go back to 1914, we can continue to enjoy one of the best products of that year, the Rogers County Free Fair!

If you have any questions, please contact the Andrea St. John at the OSU Extension office at (918) 341-2736.

For more information, contact

Rogers County Free Fair

(918) 341-2736

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