The annual Northwest Kansas District Free Fair is held the first week in August. The fair attracts people from Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska. Each year the fair offers many opportunities for commercial vendors, exhibitors and so much more.
The grounds of the fair are open to the public free of charge and are general open from 7:00 am MST to 11:00 pm MST. Buildings are general open from 7:00 am MST to 10:00 pm MST depending on activities and events taking place.
The Northwest Kansas District Free Fair Office is located in the Ag Building (Large Pavilion) near the grandstand entrance.
The Northwest Kansas District Free Fair offers free public parking. The public parking lots are located to the South and West of the fairgrounds. The entrance to the parking lot located to the south of the fairgrounds is on Caldwell Street. The entrance to the parking lot located to the west of the fairgrounds is on Main Street. Exhibitors may park in the lot located to the north of the Ag Building. A complete fairgrounds map can be found by clicking here.
An open area in the northwest corner of the fairgrounds is available for campers. Electricity is available, but water and sewage is not available. No fee is charged, but donations are accepted to help with electricity costs. Donations can be made at the fair office.
An ATM machine is located in the food court area.
By State Law, no dogs, cats, or other pets, except seeing-eye dogs, hearing assistance dogs, and dogs trained to assist the handicapped, shall be permitted on the fairgrounds during the Northwest Kansas District Free Fair.
The Northwest Kansas District Free Fair First Aid Station is located straight West of the Ag Building during the evening hours. During the day First Aid can be found at the Fair Office located in the Ag Building near the grandstand entrance.
Restrooms are are located to the North of the Ag Building, to the East of the livestock barns, and in the carnival building.
Parking reserved for visitors with disabilities is located to the North of the Ag Building. Restrooms built to accommodate the disabled are available in the Carnival Building and the restrooms to the North of the Ag Building.
All lost and found articles and inquiries about lost persons will be handled at the Fair Office located in the Ag Building and/or at the Carnival ticket booth. The Sherman County Sheriffs Department and the Goodland Police Department may also be of assistance.
Grandstand and Agricultural Hall at the fairgrounds. Fred Hunt, Contractor, was in charge of the Construction. T.A. McCants, secretary of the fair board, searched the western part pf the United States for a contractor to construct a self supporting roof. N.L. Ross, licensee for the construction of the Lamella Roof in Colorado, was Hired. He also did the steel work. The Lamella type of roof is of German design and is an outstanding feature of the pavilion.
September 21, 22, & 23, 1886 were the dates of the first fair in Sherman County, held north of present day Goodland on the claim of George D. Umphrey, who gave the use of the land at no charge.
The second fair was held October 12, 13, 14, 1887 in the town of Itasca. The County seat of Sherman County had not be selected.
The Third Sherman County Fair was held September 11, 12, 13, 1888 in Goodland, voted in as County Seat in the 1887 election.
Through the next forty years various improvements were made; stock barns were built, Churches erected food booths, and the 4-H groups became the center of activities.
The pavilion, 100 ft by 200 ft, was contracted in 1926 an erected in 1927, using the roof design called Lamella for both the building and the attached grandstand.
Originating in Germany, many long spans of this design ar still in existence throughout the world. A Lamella roof on Miami had withstood a hurricane after walls of the structure had collapsed in the violent storm. The pavilion roof is constructed of wood, the grandstands if of steel. both erected by N. L. Ross, of Denver, CO., a licensee for Lamella Roof for that state in the 1920's.
Sherman County in indeed proud that the members of the Fair Board of that day hand the foresight and ambition to erect this architectural gem on the high plains of Kansas for utilitarian and pleasure use into the 21st century.
On Monday, September 19, 1927 the new agricultural hall was full to overflowing with first class exhibits, in some departments breaking all pervious records. Needlework and Art, Science, and Flower Show Departments were added.
The 4-H and Homemakers Clubs were all represented as well as school exhibits, which in the past had been handicapped for lack of room.
The automobile, tractors and implement shows vied with the hardware, grocery, furniture and radio displays for the largest number of admirers.
For more information about the Pavilion at the Sherman County Fairgrounds refer to Volume III of the Sherman County History Books, "They Came to Stay".
Courtesy of: Sherman County Historical Society