It all began
back in 1924
The Center Fair has always been about community and good fun. In 1925 a local newspaper printed the Premium List for the fair and stated the "Object of the Fair" was:
1. To get together the people of Davie and surrounding counties and have a day of fun and good fellowship.
2. To display the products showing the skill and industry of our workers on the farm, in the home, in the store, in the mill and factory.
— Sept. 17, 1925 Mocksville Enterprise
Those same principles apply today.
100 YEARS AGO
Back in 1924 when the first Center Fair was formed the Historic Center Arbor was just 48 years old and, in fact, Davie County itself was a mere 88 years old. Nationally, Calvin Coolidge was President and the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was coming in November. Things were pretty prosperous and we were in the thick of the "roaring twenties."
In the Center Community a group of people met and organized the first Center Fair which was open to all residents of Davie County to enter. It was held at the Historic Center Arbor. Back then the fair was not held on a weekend like it is now. It was actually held on WEDNESDAY, October 22nd. In 1925 the date was moved to the last Wednesday in September and in 1926 it included a second day on Thursday. The event included many categories that remained a part of the modern fair but in the early days they also judged livestock including cows, pigs, chickens, etc.
FORERUNNER OF THE "DAVIE COUNTY FAIR"
After the hugely successful fair of 1926 it seems Center had outgrown its available space. Plans were made to merge the Center Fair organization with another group and create a new fair located in Mocksville called the Davie County Fair. This fair was held at the Masonic Picnic Grounds starting the following year and ran from 1927 through 1938. The fair was moved back to Center on a smaller scale for a few years and was run by the Center Grange. In 1954 Center Community revived the fair again and around that time the community began holding barbecues and other events to raise money for the new Center Volunteer Fire Department which was founded in 1957.
By the 1980's and on into the 2000's the annual Center Fair and Barbecue drew large crowds over two days (Friday & Saturday) in early September. It came to include craft vendors, tents for local community organizations, and antique tractors in addition to the fair exhibits and categories for all ages in the Center Arbor and Center Community Building...and a few thousand pounds of smoked pork barbecue too!
DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS MADE IT ALL HAPPEN
Many volunteer hours went on behind the scenes in the days and months leading up to fair day. Asking for donations from the business community, putting together fair books, cleaning up the arbor and getting the tables and signage up for the various categories, department heads, judges, etc. It took a lot of hands and we were been blessed to have such wonderful community support over the years from not only Center community but also folks in Jericho, Hardison, Ijames, Sheffield, and all the rest of Davie County.
We are so thankful for all those who have helped over the years and continued to help present this traditional country fair to the people of Davie County for several generations up through 2019.
In 2020 Covid-19 had taken hold all across the United States and the world and many events were shut down to avoid the possibility of spreading the disease. The Center Fair was not held that year or since. The last Center Fair was in 2019.