Saturday, September 5, 2009

Solano's Fair Exhibits

The 2009 California State Fair ends on Labor Day and, as always, Solano County has entered one of the best County Exhibits of the event. California’s State Fair dates back to 1854 and over the years the Sacramento fair other regional fairs have celebrated the state’s agricultural bounty.

On September 5, 1887, the Vallejo Evening Chronicle described Solano County’s entry at the Mechanic’s Industrial Fair held in San Francisco. The Fair featured agricultural exhibits along with displays of the state’s industrial output:

“The display of Solano County products at the Mechanic’s Fair is located left of the main entrance, and is tastefully arranged. Festoons of vines laden with grapes are hung above the tables which are grouped around a large pyramid, not yet completed, but which is to consist of fruit in glass. The exhibition is under the supervision of J.B. Robinson of Vallejo, who is assisted by H.C. Blake of Vacaville. Among the displays now on the tables are the following: J.G. Edwards of Suisun, a collection of apples and pears; James McNulty, Suisun, grapes. A.T. Hatch, one of the most successful fruit growers in the state has a display of fruits, grapes and almonds. C. Reaves, Suisun, handsome grapes. M.G. Shilebar, Suisun, peaches and pears; G. Plaisted, Suisun, Japanese persimmons, garlic, walnuts; L.B. Abernathie, Suisun, Texas pecans figs and nuts; Joseph Dawlson, Suisun, Kelsey Japan plum and other fruits; J. Wing, Fairfield immense pears; Joseph Armstrong, Suisun quinces and pears; C.W. Samelson, Suisun oranges, grapes and fruits; B.N. Sheldon, Solano, apples and a particularly fine display of other fruit; H.W. McEwen, Suisun, peaches and pears; W. Foster, Sloan pears in great profusion; J.H. Banman, Suisun, pears; Mrs. G.M. Blake of Pleasant Valley has a display of fruit rivaling any other in the Fair; James R. Collins, Blue Mountain, shows two cucumbers twelve inches in circumference. W.H. Webb has some very fine pears and Joseph Blake of Vacaville displays luscious-looking nectarines.

A prominent feature of the display is a collection of sun-dried fruits. They were contributed by A.T. Hatch of Suisun, and from Vacaville J.B. Merchant, E.R. Thurde, Mrs. George M. Blake and J.H. Webster. In addition to the fruit, basalt paving blocks and native onyx are shown. It is complained, both by Mr. Robinson and Mr. Blake, that the fruit men are all so busy with their orchards now that they will not take time to send samples or come themselves.”

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