The History of the Iowa County Fair
From the beginning of the Iowa County Fair, the primary focus of holding a fair was as a social element to the community, which to some degree still holds true today.
1851- Iowa County Agricultural Society held first fair in Dodgeville at the Town Hall Lawn.
1856- Fair resumed after lapse of 5 years. The Fair was held in Dodgeville on the Town Hall Lawn. This is the date we are celebrating due to the consistency of having an annual event held in either Dodgeville, Mineral Point or both locations . In an newspaper article, "October, 1864 ; "Ninth Annual Fair", The Iowa County Agricultural Society started their calculation of anniversaries with the 1856 fair.
1858- The Industrial Arts Union was held for the first time in Mineral Point. Iowa County Agricultural
Society purchased land and moved their fair location to what is currently behind the Dodgeville School Forest. Dodgeville and Mineral Point both held dueling fairs a week apart from this point forward until approx. 1914.
1861- Industrial Art Union of Mineral Point did not hold a fair in respects for the community members that were fighting in the Civil War. The Iowa County Agricultural Society continue to hold their fair.
1870- The Industrial Arts Union of Mineral Point, changed it's name to, "Southwestern Wisconsin
Industrial Association" . Ÿ In August 4, 1870, John Toay, President, wrote a letter to the editor stating, "The First Annual Fair of this Association will be held on the grounds of the Association in the city of Mineral Point, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, September 8th, 9th and 10th, 1870." The location was, "The executive committee have rented the grounds owned by John J. Ross, Esq., situated on the Galena Road, adjoining the Catholic Cemetery. It is their intention to fit these grounds up with every convenience for the use of the exhibitor during the fair."
1875- The Southwestern Wisconsin Industrial Association purchases 30 acres of land and moves the
grounds to a "Riding Park" west of Graceland Cemetery in Mineral Point.
1894- It has been state that the Southwestern Wisconsin Industrial Association changed their mane to, "Southwestern Wisconsin Fair" in order to receive state aid. (This has not been found in newspaper articles as of yet)
1914- (approximately) Dodgeville held their last Fair.
1989- The Iowa County fair transitioned from a share holders organization to a non profit organization with a board of directors and bi-laws. The name was changed to, "Iowa County Fair Society Inc."