The Betterment of Everything from Man to Onions: The Waverly Fair & Flower Show

Shortly after the Waverly Community House opened its doors, it began conducting one of its most beloved events: the Annual Fair & Flower Show. During this show, residents would display various farm, flower, & home products to a panel of judges; they would subsequently be awarded prizes based on where they placed in the competition. Ultimately, this function was intended to “promote healthy rivalry” among participants, while also encouraging community interaction & engagement. The first fair was held on October 7th, 1920 & quickly became one of the most anticipated annual events over the next two decades. As a true collaborative effort, the Waverly Community House staff worked with farmers, local churches, and various other community members in order to facilitate the creation of numerous fair committees, which would decide on event activities. After the first production in 1920, and the ensuing media attention it received, the fair went on to become a sensation within Waverly & the surrounding areas.

Waverly Fair Poster 1921

In addition to juried exhibitions, the fair had much more to offer to the public. Other events & programs taking place at the function included: a carnival, fortune telling booths, pony rides, a dunk tank, obstacle golf, stunt clowns, live music, & various other activities enjoyed by patrons.

In order to ensure widespread participation, local residents offered their automobiles to the WCH for the free transportation of guests to and from the Clarks Green Railroad Station; In 1930, buses departing from Scranton later served as transportation for city residents as the fair’s popularity increased. The Scranton Republican described this occurrence fondly as follows: “Not only the Waverly folks, but the entire countryside, residents of Scranton, & the public in general are invited to visit Waverly & share in the enjoyment of this event [Scranton Republican, 8/1924].”

1937

Annual Fair, 1937

“Old Home Day” was also a unique component of the Annual Fair. During this day, elderly residents of the village were hosted by members of the event’s Old Home Day Committee, who would dress in antique clothing from previous time periods. These older residents shared an enthusiasm for the occasion and made every effort to be in attendance.

1931 octogenarians

The Annual Fair & Flower Show was held from 1920 until 1937 when it was discontinued. Despite its cancellation, the highly regarded event went on to set the tone for future programs & activities held at the Waverly Community House. The spirit of the event also lives on in the WCH’s Archive Collection.

Quote regarding the Annual Fair written in the Scranton Republican: “Indeed, the residents of the town [Waverly], & the entire countryside always anticipate their fair with great pleasure. It is the big event of the year in their community life [Scranton Republican 9/1924].”

Front building 1926

Waverly Fair, 1926

More Waverly Fair Images:

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