Early in 1906 a group of men from the area surrounding West Alexander, Pennsylvania, met to discuss the establishment of an annual agricultural fair in the community. Most of these individuals had been involved in a similar event just across the state line in West Virginia that had ceased to operate after the 1905 fair.
The West Alexander Agricultural Association was chartered in April of 1906. The objective of the association was and remains to encourage the advancement and progress in all things pertaining to agriculture and horticulture and to promote the intelligence and welfare of the community. Seven hundred fifty shares of stock were issued and sold at ten dollars a share to create the capital needed to buy land and erect buildings. The total seven thousand five hundred dollars allowed the Association to purchase a fifty-seven acre farm just north of the town of West Alexander and to purchase the buildings from the old fair in West Virginia to be moved to the newly acquired fairgrounds.
The first West Alexander Fair was held in September 1906. Many meetings of the directors were called in the days leading up to that first fair as issues had to be dealt with on the run. The racetrack around the grounds had been completed in time for the first fair and two horse races were the feature events. An exhibit hall and livestock barns and pens were erected during the first years of the fair allowing the showing of all local farm animals and products. Hot air balloon ascensions became a major attraction during the early years of the West Alexander Fair. Crowds gathered each year to witness this exciting event until 1951 when the wind carried the balloon away from the fairground and deposited it in a very destructive manner in a neighbor's cornfield. A wedding was held in front of the grandstand at the 1915 fair, and the bride and groom were presented with a thirty-five dollar bedroom suite for providing this attraction.
While fair traditions have and must be maintained, the fair is constantly challenged to meet the changing tastes of the public. Upgrades in entertainment and midway attractions have been made to satisfy the modern fair-goer. Over the years the original buildings have been upgraded or replaced. For over one hundred years the West Alexander Fair has been the highlight event of the community. Our directors work hard and volunteer their time with the hope that it will continue for another hundred years.