The Westby Area History Alive Project Inc. team of David and Ruth Amundson are back at it again this time locating a Vernon County Fair exhibit from 1933. The Vernon County Fair was first organized event in l856. This year’s event will be held Sept. 12-16. It is the state’s last county fair of the year and is always a memorable one, especially for exhibitors.
“What’s more fun than attending the County Fair each year where there’s great food, fun rides, lots of prizes to be won and so many people to see,” Ruth said.
In 1933, the Vernon County Fair celebrated its 77th annual event. That same year Clayton Sherman Lovass was a second grader at Westby Elementary School working on his very own fair submission. Lovass, with the help of his teacher, Ann Marie Melby, submitted a 5-page, pencil hand-written pamphlet, describing five United States holidays. To enhance his entry Lovass carefully glued five different matching topic cut outs on each of the pages in his booklet. Once completed he became Vernon County Fair Exhibitor 965, Class 2, Entry Number 204, in the seasonal Booklet category.
The History Alive Project group recently acquired Clayton’s 85-year-old booklet intact and in very good condition. The Amundsons said that the nostalgic artifact makes a great conversation piece and noted that beyond the photo cover attached to this story additional pictures of Clayton’s booklet can be seen on the History Alive Project Inc. Facebook page.
“We found it interesting that in 1933, Memorial Day was termed Decoration Day and Clayton included a cut out picture of Miss Columbia to enhance that holiday page in his booklet,” Ruth said.
The Amundsons also noted variances in the spelling of some surnames during different decades in history. For example they noted that Clayton’s teacher spelled his last name “Lovaas” with two “a” on his 1933 entry form, yet Clayton spelled his last name Lovass, with one “a”. Today the last name is most often spelled Lovaas.
As the Amunsdons looked through the old fair entry they tried to imagine the smile on his Clayton’s face when he learned he had received a blue ribbon, First Premium sticker for his efforts and the smile on his face he would have had on his face today after his booklet once again found the light of day.
“We’re sure Clayton’s smile was a big then as other youth today who also earn recognition with fair entries,” David said.
Lovass, now deceased, was a member of the Westby High School class of l943. He was a Corporal in the U.S. Army during WWII and was buried in the Westby Country Coon Prairie Cemetery when he died.
“Good luck to all fair exhibitors at the Vernon County Fair. Maybe one day your work will also become a history conversation piece,” the Amundsons said.