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Frozen In Time: Benton County Fair [VIDEO]

Benton County Fair Board

SAUK RAPIDS — Next week marks the 101 year anniversary of the Benton County Fairgrounds, keeping it Frozen In Time.

At one point tents were used in place of where buildings stand today, but the fair wasn’t always held on the fair grounds.

Prior to 1913, local crop and cattle farmers would put their exhibits on display in area stores.

After the board purchased the land they were able to build a grandstand which featured both horse and car racing on its half-mile track.

Board director, Phil Neske says the grandstand was very popular and would attract crowds of up to 3,000 people.

The Grandstand’s roof had to be replaced three times before the board decided to take it down for good.

Today the race track has been reduced to make space for the growing number of exhibits and attractions.

In 1946 the Benton County Fair was forced to close down due to a polio outbreak. That same year the Minnesota State Fair also shut down due to the epidemic.

The Heritage building is the oldest structure on site. It was built the year the grounds opened. It’s usually used as the exhibit space for the Benton County Historical Society during fair time.

Recently members of the Benton County Fair Board and others teamed up to put together a book outlining the fair’s century long history. It contains more than 300 pages full of historical facts.

Neske helped do research and put the book together. He says it took many hours and lots of volunteer work to gather all of the material.

View more of our Frozen In Time series

See a video of the Benton County Fair below. 

Have an Idea for a "Frozen in Time" story?

If so, we'd love to hear your suggestions for our series. Remember, we want to know about businesses, groups, services and people who are still doing it old-school.

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