The first Street Fair was held on Saturday, September 19, 1885, on Main Street in Columbiana, Ohio. It Was headed by A. C. Bell, as President, E. S. Holloway,as Secretary, and Bertram Renkenberger as Treasurer. Items were displayedalong Main Street. Items of produce, livestock, and hand-made items were judged, and cash and other prizes were given for the best of the show. A 58-piece tea set valued at $13.50 was given to Wm. B. Bradshaw for the largest pumpkin at the fair, and for the best half bushel of tomatoes, a box of cigars valued at $5.00 was given to R. C. Patterson. The name changed in the early 1900's to the H. H. Smith Pumpkin Show, but carried on the same flair. In 1905 the Hon. Charles S. Speaker spoke to a crowd of 9,000 on the early history of Columbiana and Fairfield Townships. The entertainment of the day was wheelbarrow, potato, egg, and girl races; a ball game between Columbiana and Hazelton was played. Other events were bicycle races in which first place took a purse of $4.00 and a lady's hitching contest was held. These amusements were held at 1 p.m. north of the Public Square.
In 1908 the Street Fair was taken over by the merchants of Columbiana, being held on Main Street on Saturday as a one-day event. In 1920 the Benjamin Firestone Post #290 of the American Legion took over the Street Fair maintaining the same flair but changing to a three-day event, adding more events over the years.
In 1930 the total receipts were $1,818.91 with a profit of $273.70. At the time a 1930 Chevrolet valued at $555.00 was given away. This event was carried on until 1981 when it was changed to cash prize awards. Many area residents received a car at the fair for only a dollar. By the 1937 the fair took on the shape of what it s today, a 1/4 miles midway with rides, games, music, good food, prizes, arts, and crafts.
In 1943 the American Legion discontinued the fair and helped in the war effort, but returned strong in 1944.
Many things have changed over the years at the fair, but the one thing that has always remained is the neighbor-meeting-neighbor atmosphere of the Columbiana Street Fair. People from out of town come home to Columbiana to come to the fair to visit and see old acquaintances.
Hundreds of people have worked many hours over the years in all aspects of the fair. It was headed by Harry Lundgren for 28 years in the early days, and passed over to Dick Winegold in 1962. Dave Brandt took over in 1977. Dave Reash was handed the reigns in 1995. In 2013 Jacob Sevek took over as Manager of the Columbiana Street Fair. Prices and times have changed and the Columbiana Street Fair has changed to adapt to these changes. The Columbiana Street Fair is considered the second largest street fair in Ohio and considered at the top of the list by concessionaires in the tri-state area with attendance over 40,000. The fair is known as the "State Fair of Street Fairs."
The fair supports the activities of the American Legion and provides a source of income for organizations and merchants in Columbiana. Operating on an advertising budget of approximately $1,500.00, the fair brings fair goers from approximately a 100-mile radius of Columbiana. Planning for the fair goes on year round and has already begun for the coming year. Because of the cooperation of the City, Firestone Park, Merchants, Clubs, Organizations, and local residents, the American Legion Post #290 would like to thank you. You all have helped make the last 133 years of the fair a success and with your continued support, we will grow and prosper in the coming years.
The veterans of Post 290 provide mutual support to veterans and the community of the Columbiana local area. The post chaplain holds services at Whispering Pines every second Sunday of the month. Other members frequently visit with veterans in Parkside Nursing Home and Whispering Pines. At Christmas time we provide a program of song, a gift, and a thank you. The post chaplain shares the Christmas story from the Bible and offers prayers for the veterans and all in attendance. The Auxiliary members the past two years have made hand-sewn lap robes to give to the veterans.
The post frequently donates to the Veterans Administration (VA) clinics in Calcutta and Youngstown. We donate to the VA food bank in Youngstown and Second Harvest Food Bank, as many veterans from our area look to them for help.
Through Operation Cookie Drop and Operation Comforts From Home boxes are sent to our active duty military let them know we care about them and appreciate all they do. Boxes are sent several times a year with donations from the community, families with members serving and of course the post members. This is an important program to show our appreciation and a note of thanks is always included in the packages to give them encouragement and support.
Legion supports our local youth through the Legion Americanism Program, by sending boys to Buckeye Boys State, and by sponsoring a local Boy Scout troop, a baseball team, and softball team. The local kids soccer league practices and plays on soccer fields located on post property.
Veterans of Post 290 lead every community parade, proudly carrying and guarding the American Flag.
The solemn privilege of providing the final tribute for a veteran’s service to their country is provided by the Honor Guard at funeral services. You may have heard the sounds of the gun volley and the solemn notes of Taps being played as you pass by the cemetery, one of the funeral homes or one of our churches in town. The Honor Guard in the last five years has served at almost one hundred of those services honoring our veterans.
Post Commander: Ken Allcorn
1st Vice Commander: Dick Houp
2nd Vice Commander: Randy Miller
Finance Officer: Jim Houp
Trustee: Billy Martin
Trustee: Ed Holisky
Chaplain: Ken Rambo
Sergeant-at-Arms: Ken Allcorn
From all of us at the Columbiana Street Fair and American Legion Post 290 we THANK YOU!!! With out all of you the Columbiana Street Fair would not be “The State Fair of Street Fairs!”