Mississippi Valley Fair Celebrates 100th Anniversary

History and heritage are two important components of the Quad Cities. We pride ourselves in the growth and redevelopment of the beautiful community, but we never forget our roots.

It’s a history full of twists and turns and many prized contributions — one of which we will celebrate this summer. The Mississippi Valley Fair (MVF) is 100 years old this year, and we’re all ready to party during Fair Week–July 30th through August 4th.

With a hundred years of memories, it’s hard to imagine that the fair looked the same as it does now. MVF coordinator, Vicky Speth, acknowledges that a lot has changed after the land was purchased in 1919. “The fair started in 1920, but we mark the start of the celebration in 1919. To showcase the historical development of the fair there will be memorabilia in the room under the grandstand.”

While things have progressed, the coordinating team values the history behind the fair and plans to commemorate it by opening the Heritage House to display items “from years gone by.” The local Quilters and Embroidery guild will also be stationed in the building to demonstrate fine art and needlework. On Friday, August 2nd, the Heritage House will heat up the old wooden stove and prepare a scrumptious homemade meal of chicken noodle soup and cornbread.Image result for mississippi valley fairgrounds

A few anniversary-centric events and special attractions will also happen at the fair this year. Speth states, “We have fireworks every night after the concerts, sky divers, 100 tractors on display, a memorabilia display, the Budweiser Clydesdales, special cups by the concessionaires, souvenir items, and each division is asked to have a category relating to the fair.”

A 100th anniversary only comes around once in a lifetime, but celebrating the popularity of the Mississippi Valley Fair never fades. Throughout my own last three years of reviewing the fair, it seems to grow in size and splendor as Iowa’s second largest fair.

Speth notes her appreciation for all those who find themselves at the fair, and credits the fair’s popularity, new attractions, and musical artists for the crowd it draws.

“I think the things that keep people coming back every year are affordability, spectacular grandstand entertainment, competition in open class and 4-H, and a state of the art, safe, clean facility,” she mentions. “We make every effort to add new attractions and mix things up every year. This year we have a motorcycle show, pirate show, lumberjack show, and Elvis Impersonator, Tim E, and lots of free music on the stages on the grounds.”

The 2019 fair is not one to miss! In the spirit of tradition and 100th anniversaries, please remember to check the schedule each night, in order to know which artist is playing in the grandstand.

It also allows you to see what other events, historical celebrations, animals, shows during the day, and opportunities are going on at the same time.

All grandstand shows begin at 8 P.M., with gates opening at 7 P.M. Tickets are available for purchase all week, but it’s $85 for the fun card. Remember this includes general admission and entry to every single concert over the week of July 30th to August 4th. General admission to the fair is $5/day for children, ages 4-12, and $10/adults. Anyone under the age of 3 is allowed free admission at the fair gates. For more information, call (563) 326 – 5338 or visit the website.


About the author

Katy Williams Henderson A life-long Quad Cities resident, Katy is a Preschool through 4th Grade ESL Teacher at a local elementary school. She attended St. Ambrose University, graduating in May 2018 with a B.A. in Elementary Education with ESL and Reading concentrations and an English minor. She is working on a Master's in Early Childhood Education. She loves running, traveling, cooking, working with kids, spending time with her husband and her family and friends, education, and putting a pen to paper. Her writing credits include the Dispatch-Argus Newspaper, Radish Magazine, Midwest Writing Center and being a writing tutor at SAU and now for The Princeton Review's Tutor.com.

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