York Fair during wartime—part three
The York Fair is over for this year, leaving us contemplating what headline acts and interesting food choices are going to be featured next year. I assume the fair management and staff are already working on the 2016 York Fair.
My last two posts were on the 1942 fair, the first one after the United States entered World War II in December 1941. The 1942 fair program explained that management had decided to continue the fair, promoting agriculture and industry while giving the public a brief chance to relax in those intense times. Let’s Go America: A Patriotic Musical Spectacle was featured on the grandstand in 1942.
As is true today, fair officials had to plan far ahead in the 1940s. I came across a Google Books article online from the May 1, 1943 issue of Billboard, the national entertainment magazine. The article reads:
York Victory Plans Pushed
Officials see larger crowds as result of greater liberality in use of gasoline
YORK, Pa., April 24—Featuring an “All Out for Victory” theme, management of York Interstate Fair last week predicted that unless something unforeseen occurs, this year’s annual fair will prove one of the most successful in the 92-year history of the society. Officials point to the fact that while gasoline is more restricted as far as quantity is concerned then it was last year, there is a greater liberality for which it may be used. This, they feel, should result in an increased attendance over last year.
Officials said that indications point to a near-capacity line-up of exhibits in the agricultural and horticultural halls, and management feels it will encounter little difficulty in filling the dairy and feed cattle, sheep, swine and steer barns. Secretary John H. Rutter, who is currently revising and preparing the annual premium list, said that exhibits, which are the foundation of all agricultural fairs, will be sufficient and available to present a good fair.
Management is endeavoring to maintain its high standard of acts and attractions. President Sam S. Lewis, after contacting booking agents and outdoor show people, is of the opinion that the policy adopted last year to make late booking is equally applicable this year. Contracted thus far are Paul Remos and his Toy Boys. A tentative agreement has been made for a return engagement of Dr. I.Q. radio show. A contract also has been tentatively entered into with the James E. Strates Shows, which have been playing the local fair for the last several years, to provide the midway attractions.
Concession Manager William O. Thompson has received a number of deposits for concession space and is daily receiving inquiries and expressions of intentions from concessionaires to attend the fair. Race Secretary Harry P. Peeling expressed the opinion that there will be no difficulty in obtaining the required number of harness and running race horses to put on the usual good races in front of the grandstand. He said that there should be more horses of both classes available this year than last because a number of fairs and running race meets have been cancelled.
Paul Remos did a balancing act with two acrobatic midgets who looked like small boys. They were popular in the 1940s and 1950s on the live theater circuit as well as television programs, such as the Ed Sullivan Show and the Colgate Comedy Hour.
In my last post I mentioned that I hadn’t found anything yet on “Mr. Van Leer and his famous Lippzander High School horse… .” Reader Kate shared this link about Van Leer, a fascinating story.
I hope you enjoyed the fair. Here is a link to previous posts on more years of the York Fair.