by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
If my math is correct, this marks the forty-first year for the Grain Valley Fair. Due to the Pandemic, the Fair was scaled down in 2020, but last year, thanks to Grain Valley News, it survived and continues to be a great event in our town.
I’m taking a detour from my articles on road names to give you some history about the fair. I’m also taking a break because it is Labor Day Weekend. This article was originally written for “The Voice” newsletter in 2019. Whether you call it Fair Daze, or the Grain Valley Fair, here is a little history of the event.
After digging through several archival boxes of old newspapers, the information I was seeking appeared in the 1983 Guide to Grain Valley, published by The Examiner.
Community fair will be a first-time event for town
By Alyson Fortney
After two years of planning, Grain Valley will have its first annual fair this fall.
Dennis Bundren, chairperson of the Grain Valley Fair Association, explained the idea originated as a brainstorm of his two years ago. Burden chose representatives from various organizations in town to serve in the 10-member association.
The Grain Valley Fair, scheduled for Sept. 29, 30 and October 1, promises to be full of thrills, food, contest and exhibits.
The article went on to discuss the rides and games of chance, crafts and baked goods from local 4-H clubs, a hot-air balloon race, a demolition derby, a ’66 Mustang display by the Mustang Club of Kansas City and a beer garden. There was no mention of a parade.
In 1993 the fair was held at the 94-acre Grain Valley Memorial Fairground on Old U.S. 40 east of Main Street. In 1995, the board purchased Gannon-Thomas Hall, formerly owned by the VFW, on Old 40 just west of the fairgrounds. In addition to the fair, the facilities were used for community and private functions, sand drag races and the Kansas City Indian Club Pow-Wow.
In the 1997 Guide to Grain Valley, Bill Bushey, president of the Grain Valley Fair Association boasted the fair was “one of the biggest activities in the city this year”. The fair must have been held in June for a few years, because in 1997 the association changed the date to July 24-27 to have a lesser chance of rain. The parade that year was the biggest in history as some 300 Shriners were there with motorcycles and trick cars, bands and flashy outfits!
The Historical Society will be opened on Saturday, September 10, from 12:00 – 4 PM. Come visit us before and after the parade goes down Main Street. In addition to our exhibits, we will have FREE ICE WATER! We also have GV t-shirts, 2022 Christmas ornaments, and 2023 historical calendars. All would make great Christmas gifts.
See you at the Fair!