“A Day at the Races, August 24, 1916”


In the hot summer of August, 1916 what would a Gratiot County native do for a good time? Head for the county fair! Of course, you would have to pay for a ticket and the fair usually only took place from Wednesday through Saturday. Be sure and attend on Saturday night, that was the highlight of the fair as something was going on that always drew a big crowd.

In 1924, one of the biggest crowds to attend the Gratiot County Fair took place when the Ku Klux Klan held “Klan Day” at the fair in Ithaca. The largest crowd to ever attend an event in Ithaca took place on that Saturday as people watched the parade of Klansmen marching, ¬†riding on floats, and on horseback.

The county fair in 1916 was the last one before the Great War took place. Young men from Gratiot County who attended the fair in August 1917 just might be required to tell why they had not enlisted to fight, or what they thought they were doing to support the war effort. “Slackers” even found themselves in a roundup that year as the local sheriff and his deputies checked the status of these men.

And I thought the fair was supposed to be fun.

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