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Taking you back to the start of the Elkhart County 4-H Fair

Taking you back in time; a look at just how much the Elkhart County 4-H Fair has changed over the years.

ABC57 takes you inside the historical museum where you can learn when everything started and how the fair has adapted to new times.

The head of the museum, Marion Troyer shared his memories of way back when the county fair started.

According to Troyer, the fair started thanks to the Elkhart County Agricultural Society in 1862.

Then, a few years later things took a different turn and not necessarily for the good.

“The Civil War came and interrupted it and so they had to cancel the fair for a few years and after that they had the fair for one year, south of Goshen,” says Troyer.

Things started to pick back up with John Leach, owner of what used to be the farm at the fair, and some business associates who took it upon themselves to start something new.

“Bought 30 acres of land on US 33 and they built a race track,” adds Troyer.

Thanks to those gentlemen, 1909 was the first year horse racing became part of the picture. “They had over 100 entries for the fair and it was really a popular item,” says Troyer.

Troyer started getting involved with the fair in 1976 as a photographer. “I was still photographer up until 2012 and then I was not able to run around the fair like I used to.”

Troyer noticed over the years the main entrance to the fair and the race track changed along with the seating, but for Troyer the biggest change came when he started noticing a difference on the fairgrounds.

“They used to have a lot of tents up here every year and now we have solid buildings,” he says. “It’s growing tremendously in the number of people coming in and it’s gotten to the point when we needed a second entrance to the fair.”

This historical museum started in 2002 and has been a place where people come and donate their belongings from the past.

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