Mississippi Valley Fairground Fashions: Then and . . . then

The Great Mississippi Valley Fair starts this week, running from Tuesday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 8th.

While looking through our photo collection, we found two shots taken at the Fairgrounds, about 50 years apart:

Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds [1920s]

This first photo was taken in the mid 1920s, soon after the Fairground opened.  As you can see, everyone is covered up from head to toe. The men are wearing dark suits and hats, the women have on long white dresses and children were wearing dark colored suits with while stockings and shoes.

Admission at the gate was 50 cents for adults, 25 cents for kids and 50 cents for vehicles. Bleachers were 50 cents and the grandstand was 75 cents and $1, with box seats going to $1.50. In this photo, the grandstand seems to be full, with more crowd standing around the track and some are sitting on the fences. There is a cafeteria towards the entrance, although there was probably no alcohol served if this was taken during prohibition.

Crowd at Styx concert during Great Mississippi Valley Fair [14 AUG 1978

This second photo was taken in 1978, and shows some of the 6,000 people that attended the Styx concert on Sunday, August 13th at 7:30 pm. Here, the men and women are wearing T-shirts and bellbottomed jeans or shorts and long hair (shirts were apparently optional).  

Admission was $8 for the Sunday night concert and appears to be festival seating, with a few people sitting on the grandstand. It’s not clear what they were drinking in those cups or what they were smoking.



75th Anniversary Mississippi Valley Fair. (1994). Davenport, Iowa.

Concert Buoys Fair. (1978, August 14). Quad-City Times , p. 3.

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