About

Learn a bit of the history, mission, and the fairboard of the Saint Joseph County 4H Fairgrounds.
 

Our Mission

The purpose of 4-H Fair Inc. is to foster, encourage, and provide the means and facilities for the education of young people and adults, in proper and improved methods of agriculture and its related fields of conservation and home industry with particular emphasis on the programs of the National and Local 4-H Organizations

The Fairboard Directors

At Large Director 
Jim Caldwell, President jimc@4hfair.com

At Large Director
Karen Matthys, Vice-President karenm@4hfair.com 

German Twp.
Gary Beall, Secretary garyb@4hfair.com

City of South Bend
Brian Biggers, DVM  Brianb@4hfair.com

Centre Twp.
Phil Denham phild@4hfair.com

Clay Twp.
Kristen Sikorski-Conklin kristensc@4hfair.com

Greene Twp.
 

Harris Twp.
Monica Cook monicac@4hfair.com 

Liberty Twp.
Denny Fisher dennyf@4hfair.com

Lincoln Twp.
Mike Birk mikeb@4hfair.com

Madison Twp.
Brian Heidkamp brianh@4hfair.com

Olive Twp.
Ray Wolfenbarger rayw@4hfair.com

Penn Twp.
Laura Stoner lauras@4hfair.com

Portage Twp.
Richard Stein richards@4hfair.com

Union Twp.
Tricia Mears triciam@4hfair.com

Warren Twp.
Robert Kinas robertk@4hfair.com

Elected Board Directors

Cody Shonkwiler codys@4hfair.com

Kelly Bokon-Barrett kellyb@4hfair.com

Amanda Gill amandag@4hfair.com

Zach Triplet zacharyt@4hfair.com

Sara Kinas sarak@4hfair.com

Toby Manges tobym@4hfair.com

Ed Switalski eds@4hfair.com

Julie Reed julier@4hfair.com

Tami Gilmer tamig@4hfair.com 

Donna Davis donnad@4hfair.com

Glen Borton Glenb@4hfair.com

 

 

Brick Donations

Pave the way for tomorrow's leaders!

We are selling bricks with engraved names on them and using them to build planters, walls and walkways throughout the fairgrounds. All proceeds go to the St. Joseph County 4-H Scholarship Trust Fund. Download the order form here.

 

St. Joseph County Fair is a 501(c)(3) organization, and is one of the two privately owned fairgrounds in the state of Indiana. In order to keep the grounds functioning and well maintained, we rely on fundraising events as well as contributions from individuals and local businesses.

History of the Grounds

The St. Joseph County 4-H Fair is celebrating many years of continuous fairs, but there were earlier fairs held in St. Joseph county and under different names.
 

Timeline

October 11, 1841  First fair was held

October 26, 1851  Another fair was held on the lawn of the Old Court House in South Bend

October, 1852  Fair was moved to Mishawaka

October, 1853  Moved back to South Bend on the comer of Washington Ave and North Taylor Street on 2 acres and continued until 1857

1858  Yi acres was purchased on Portage Ave and North Scott Streets in South Bend. The fair lasted until 1872. During the Civil War the fairgrounds was occupied by troops and was known as Camp Rose.

1873 to 1880  The Agriculture Society became known as Northern Indiana Fair and relocated the fair on what is now know as Western Ave.

1881  County Commissioners along with the Old Agriculture Society bought 40 acres between South Bend and Mishawaka and named the fair Farmers Union Fairs. Horse Racing was major activity.

1899  The name changed to the St. Joseph County Agriculture Society. The 40 acres is what we know today as Potawatomi Park. In 1906 the land was given to the City of South Bend.

1914  4-H and Extension Service was established

1915  lst Interstate Fair was established at Springbrook Park (later know as Playland Park). This fair continued until 1925.

1919  Vocational Agriculture and Home Economics was started in the township schools

1926  Fair moved to North Liberty where the Old Hinkel and Masonic Buildings were used. Cattle was shown in the street. Expenses for the fair was paid by the Chamber of Commerce, Township Schools, Farm Bureau, County Commissioners and County Council.

1936  Fair was moved to Lakeville. Livestock was housed in tents, Home Economic projects at elementary building. Beef Cattle were auctioned. An amusement area consisted of Ferris Wheel, Whip, Merry-go-around.

1940  Fair utilized the Union Township High School and grounds. 1941...Brother Leo from Norte Dame Farms formed a committee to purchase lottery calves. 10 cents was charged for admission for adults and children over 12.

1945  Lakeville Lions took over from the Lakeville Business men's Association the responsibility for putting on the fair with the St. Joe County Ag. Society.

1946  Fair was moved to Playland Park. WSBT radio took over daily broadcast of fair events and the Tribune the publicity. Playland Park was ideal with pe1manent buildings that could be used for exhibits, race track, permanent rides.

1947  Incorporated the name as St. Joseph County 4-H Fair.

1958  Purchased 40 acres on comer of Ironwood and Jackson in South Bend.

1959  Site was cleared and 2 buildings were built. One large one for the 4-H exhibits and the small building for commercial vendors. Gooding Amusement Company provided the rides.

1987 Hosted the International Special Olympics during the fair. 1988..Nature Center was developed

1991  Addition to grandstand and a roof for grandstand was constructed along with a new stage.

2015  St. Joseph County 4-H Fair turned 90! Complete with a 9 days celebration!

2019 Save the dates for the  annual St. Joseph County 4-H Fair: June 28th - July 6th!