The directors of the Stutsman County Fair Association announced some of their plans for the fair scheduled the summer a century ago.

Actually, they announced some of the things that wouldn’t be part of the fair.

“There will be no carnival company or airplane flights during the 1921 fair,” said articles based on the announcement. “… as they do not offer pleasing, new or high class attractions; also airplane flights, as they no longer attract.”

The fair turned the selection of attractions to Miss Zena Irma Trinka of Lidgerwood, North Dakota.

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“Miss Trinka is recognized as a wonderful leader, instructress and organizer of districts or communities,” wrote The Jamestown Alert.

Trinka is also a noted historic author of that era and her books, such as “Out where the West Begins,” “Teddy, the Saga of the Badlands,” and “North Dakota of Today.”

The "today" referred to in the latter book was back in 1920.

Carnivals and air shows were replaced with a band tournament and an outdoor theater with the performance of plays.

“The troupe presenting the best play will be presented with a silver loving cup as a special prize for the championship,” wrote the Alert.

The band and theater competitions were open to local and “outside professional talent” including the hope of drawing a “prima donna of national renown” to the Stutsman County Fair.

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Youth talent competitions were also planned for the fair including one- or two-act plays, dancing and music.

Fair organizers also promised attendees an opportunity to take a trip around the world.

“Some big surprises in booths and personages await the public here,” wrote the Alert. “We may not be betraying confidence when we say that Uncle Sam will be in full charge of America, and other countries will have their notables present.”

The announcement in February was the preliminary plans for the Stutsman County Fair and noted that the dates for the fair had not been determined.

Overall, it would seem the Stutsman County Fair from a century ago was more educational and entertainment rather than the bright lights of a carnival and the thrills of an air show.

Obviously, carnivals have returned to the fair and music is a major part of the entertainment, although it is not a competition any longer.

And I don’t think a “prima donna of national renown” would be a big feature for county fairs in this era.

Author Keith Norman can be reached at