1909 Alabama State Fair
The 1909 Alabama State Fair was a State Fair held in October 11–20, 1909 at the Alabama State Fairgrounds in Birmingham The fair included displays of livestock, produce and other farm and industrial products brought from various county fairs and Chambers of Commerce.
Adult admission tickets to the fair were 50¢ during the day, and in the evening. Children 7 to 14 were offered entry at half price, with younger children admitted for free. They were sold at the fairgrounds and at R. D. Burnett Cigar Co., the Florence Hotel, and at several drug stores, including Withington, Adams Drugs, Gunn-Gambill Drug Co., Parker Drugs, Patton-Pope Drug Co., and Norton's Drug Store.
Special railroad rates were offered in five states to entice visitors. In addition to the regular North Bessemer and South Ensley streetcar lines, several special cars ferried fairgoers to the grounds from downtown every few minutes. Automobile parking was available at the western end of the site.
As visitors entered the main gate, the livestock and poultry exhibits, including a Model Cow Barn and Model Dairy, were located to the right, along with the Birmingham Fire Department's tent.
To the left were the main exhibition buildings, including displays of William P. Odom's aeroplane and dirigibles brought to the city by A. Roy Knabenshue's and Lincoln Beachey. Also on that side was the grandstand Entrance, the offices of the Alabama State Fair Association and the event superintendent, the towering statue of Vulcan, a press tent, and "The Pleasure Way", a sideshow operated by Framk Spellman's company, of Cincinnati, Ohio, for which separate tickets were sold.
The grandstand offered daily entertainment, including the Alabama vs. Clemson football game on Saturday October 16, and afternoon harness races on the 18th and 19th. Featured acts included the NaVassar Band, the Bickett Family aerialists, Mamie Francis and her diving horses, and Spellman's Circus. Nappi's Full Military Band and James Hardy "The High-Wire King" also entertained fairgoers. Each evening concluded with a display of fireworks, with some of the rockets equipped with long fuses so they would fire off from balloons in the sky.
On the first Wednesday of the Fair, a competing production, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Pawnee Bill’s Far East, was staged at Smith's Park. "Children's Day", with schools let out, brought more than 35,000 people through the gates, breaking all previous records. Sam Forster's Industrial High School band performed that afternoon.