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HISTORY LIVES: Doylestown Fair


The first Doylestown Fair opened in October 1923, 100 years ago this month. A great success, the fair and fairground grew exponentially and the half-mile track hosted regular horse-drawn sulky races. The Doylestown Intelligencer described the fair as opening its second season “in a blaze of glory and sunshine.” The racetrack that year featured a new competition — the pigmobile race. Entrants were required to drive around the track in automobiles with live pigs under their arms, and “Colonel” Brown showed new form in this event by sitting on the pig as he drove his car.”

In the exhibit buildings, Dr. George Hayman, of Doylestown, displayed his honeybees and demonstrated honey making.

In 1937 the annual fair offered Ferris wheels, swings and sideshows; and the track hosted the famous Lucky Teter and the Hell Drivers. Some of the team’s stunts included racing a motorcycle at 60-70 mph over three other motorcycles while the driver was blindfolded, driving a car on two wheels, driving through flames and launching cars over eight parked vehicles or a large bus. As in previous fairs, attendees could enjoy the W. Atlee Burpee Company’s floral display and livestock competitions.

The fair was called off in 1942 due to World War II and did not resume after the war. At the annual meeting of stockholders of the Doylestown Agricultural and Livestock Development Association in January 1949, a committee was appointed to draw up a plan for dissolution of the fairgrounds. The previous April, the grandstand, home economics hall and other smaller buildings had been removed. The only buildings that remained were the horse stables, the pens used for rabbit and poultry shows and the farm products exhibition building. The half-mile track “was to be kept in shape for the time being.”

However, in a few years the property bounded by East Court Street, East Street, Maple Avenue and Swamp Road had been developed into today’s Belmont Square community.

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