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Dress (and undress) at the York Fair

York Fair 1940s
York Fair 1940s

I came across the photo above in the hundreds of York Fair photos and post cards at York County Heritage Trust. It is interesting to see the number of couples listening to the barker’s spiel in front of the “girlie show,” while getting a look at the performers. I wonder what the woman nearest the camera is saying to her boyfriend or husband.

Fairgoers attire changed over the years too. The photo from the late 1890s fair in my last post shows men in suits and hats and hatted women with long dresses. On the colorized postcard below, probably from around 1913, styles hadn’t changed much for men and women. Only the knickers and flat caps on the boys help date the card.

York Fair c.1913
York Fair c.1913

The “girlie show” photo is probably from the 1940s. Some men still wear suits and there are even a few hats, but contrasting sport coats are also popular. Women’s skirts are calf-length, and there is not a woman’s hat in sight.

1950s York Fair
1950s York Fair

More casual wear is shown on this 1950s “chrome” postcard. The women are in shorter dresses with short sleeves, and men wear short sleeved shirts and slacks. There are very few men with hats in the crowd.

I looked at the photos I took at the fair on Monday. Men were wearing jeans with sport shirts, polo shirts or plain tee shirts. Quite a few sport ball caps. Women wore mostly jeans or capris with nice, but not too dressy, tops. This was an older crowd, since it was Monday during the day, and also a free day for anyone with the ad from the Community Courier. Younger patrons might have made for less sedate dress.