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Back When … An Old-Fashioned County Fair

The gateway

The gateway


Newly hatched chicks.


The goat hill

If you have always lived in a large metropolitan area, where you have to search the “back 40” for the animals at the fair, you will love the great experience at the Montgomery County Fair and Rodeo. This year’s event will be held April 10-19 at the Fairgrounds in Conroe.

The Montgomery County event is known as the best small county fair in the state of Texas. This is the 58th year for the fair, which supports the youth with scholarships. It has everything you could possibly want in a fair: competition, awards, rodeo, BBQ competition, a Fair Queen, carnival rides and lots of food, as well as a petting zoo, non-animal competition for both youth and adults, and a country store.

The fair began by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Division as “Field Days” , literally in someone’s field. Over the years it moved to different farms and ranches and different events were gradually added. By the 1960s it began to resemble the current fair. By 1965, it had outgrown Candy Cane Park in Conroe, which was only three years old. The auctions were held at the Cow Palace, a barn east of Conroe. But by 1967, the area around the Cow Palace was too small for the expanding Junior Livestock show. The show was moved to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in 1968.

By 1977, the Livestock Show had become a “baby giant” of the Chamber of Commerce. They spent 1978 organizing and incorporated the Montgomery County Fair in 1979. It has continued to grow. In 1985, the fair offices were moved to the fair grounds. Over the years a few more permanent buildings and barns have been added. There are currently two livestock barns and an Exhibit building.

The fair opens with a two-day rodeo sanctioned by the Cowboy’s Professional Rodeo Association.   Approximately 1,000 junior exhibitors of animals and an equal number of junior exhibitors in the non-livestock division compete for scholarships. There is also an adult division for non-livestock competition. A calf scramble was added in 1991.

Since 1993,more than $1.5 million has been awarded in college scholarships. There are special days for children, senior citizens, and special education students. And the best part: it is free to get in on Monday, April 13 through Thursday, April 16. See you there!


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