History of the Island County Fair

The idea for an Island County Fair began in in 1912 when nine Coupeville men formed the Island County Fair Association funded with private stock. Fairs were held at the play pavilion from 1912 to 1916 when it was decided to discontinue the fair. The decision was due primarily to the difficulty for people to travel to Coupeville on the existing roads.

The concept of an Island County Fair was reincarnated at the Langley marina in 1917.

To get the fair started, J.C. Langley, town banker and nephew of the town namesake James Weston Langley, announced that all the women who agreed to provide an exhibit would be eligible to hunt for a gold coin he dropped somewhere on his farm.

Exhibits were housed in the large dance pavilion on the dock.

 

1917. Island County Fair at the Langley Marina (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).

1922: The Fair moved to Cascade Avenue

The property on which the dance pavilion sat was purchased by the Standard Oil Company in 1921, and in 1922, the dance pavilion at the marina was demolished to make room for oil storage tanks.

In November, 1922 seven men formed a new Island County Fair Association funded by memberships and the fair moved from the marina to Cascade Avenue. Events were held in the grassy area south of the school and exhibits were housed in the school gymnasium.

 

1922. Exhibits inside the gymnasium. Langley mayor Margaret (Maggie) Mcleod in foreground (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).

In 1923, The Island County Fair Association refined its structure and reincorporated as a Washington state nonprofit organization. Their mission was to manage the fair.

Cars and people at the 1927 Island County Fair in Langley, WA. Exhibits were housed in the unpainted gymnasium (built in 1920) adjacent to the two story school (built in 1915). 

The photo above photo is from 1922 when the Fair (then a County Fair) was held inside the Langley High School Gymnasium (which burned down in 1942).

Standing in front is Mayor Margaret (Maggie) McLeod and to her right is Paul Cunningham, Sr. (long, white hair) who had been a wagonmaster, scout, and sharpshooter, who had settled on Whidbey between Lone Lake and Useless Bay in his retirement.

Fair Scrapbook Digitization Project

The South Whidbey Historical Society is in the process of digitizing the Island County Fair Scrapbooks from 1949 forward for online viewing.  This project is being made possible by Gayle (Cattron) Pancerzewski and Charlie Pancerzewski, longtime supports of the South Whidbey Historical Society. Charlie also serves on our Board.

Many of the scrapbooks are available for anyone to view. About a quarter are available as a membership benefit of the South Whidbey Historical Society which operates the South Whidbey History Museum. It’s easy and low cost to join the Society. Annual individual memberships are $20, family memberships are $30, corporate memberships are $55, and lifetime memberships are $300.  Click here to sign up on our Membership page.

1949 Scrapbook

The first Island County Fair scrapbook that the Fair Association has in the collection dates to 1949. It featured a wooden cover and pages encased in a vizqueen type laminate, which has wrinkled over time.

1949 Scrapbook

1950’s Scrapbooks

We are missing scrapbooks for the years 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953. If you might know their whereabouts, please contact us in the office at 360-221-2101.

1954 Scrapbook

1955 Scrapbook

1956 Scrapbook

1957 Scrapbook

1958 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE.

1959 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE.

1960’s Scrapbooks

We are missing scrapbooks for the years 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968. If you  know their whereabouts, please contact us in the office at 360-221-2101.

1960 Scrapbook

1961 Scrapbook

1962 Scrapbook

1963 Scrapbook

1964 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member,  click HERE.

1969 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE.

1970’s Scrapbooks

We are missing scrapbooks for the years 1971, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979. If you  know their whereabouts, please contact us in the office at 360-221-2101.

1970 Scrapbook

1972 Scrapbook

1973 Scrapbook

1974 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE

1980’s Scrapbooks

We are missing scrapbooks for the years 1980 and 1981. If you  know their whereabouts, please contact us in the office at 360-221-2101.

1982 Scrapbook

1983 Scrapbook

1984 Scrapbook

1985 Scrapbook

1986 Scrapbook

1987 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE

1988 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE

1989 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE

1990’s Scrapbooks

We are missing scrapbooks for the years 1994, 1996, and 1997. If you  know their whereabouts, please contact us in the office at 360-221-2101.

1990 Scrapbook

1991 Scrapbook

1992 Scrapbook

1993 Scrapbook

1995 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member,  click HERE.

1998 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member,  click HERE.

1999 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member,  click HERE.

2000’s Scrapbooks

2000 Scrapbook

2001 Scrapbook

2002 Scrapbook

2003 Scrapbook

2004 Scrapbook

2005 Scrapbook

2006 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE

2007 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE

2008 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE

2009 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE

2010 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE

2010’s Scrapbooks

2011 Scrapbook

2012 Scrapbook

2013 Scrapbook

2014 Scrapbook

2015 Scrapbook

2016 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE

2017 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE

2018 Scrapbook

This Scrapbook is available for viewing as an enhanced benefit for South Whidbey Historical Members. To become a member, click HERE