A Tradition of Livestock Shows

Posted: August 20, 2021

The Sandwich Fair has a longstanding tradition of having one of the best livestock shows in the Midwest dating back to 1888.

At the first fairs, there were 4 kinds of livestock shown: cattle, swine, sheep and horses. In addition to these, other livestock shows were added to include: dairy cattle, dairy goats, poultry, rabbits and llamas, for a total of 9 kinds of livestock.

In 1938 the Department of Agriculture ordered all cattle to be tested for TB and brucellosis and all hogs had to have proof of vaccination for hog cholera. Now a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection is required.

Anyone could show livestock in the open show classes. The Junior Livestock Show began in 1949, open to young people under 21 years old who lived in DeKalb, Kane, Kendall and LaSalle counties. In later years it was open to youth from other counties.

A livestock parade was held in front of the grandstand on Friday afternoon for Open Class winners and on Sunday afternoon for Junior livestock exhibitors. The last parade was held in 1970.

The first Junior Livestock Sale was held in 1971, open to all junior livestock exhibits. All champions and the first three placings of each class had to be sold. The sale of other animals was optional. The last livestock sale was in 1985.

Source: The Sandwich Fair Association