The Delaware County Fairground
June 28, 1833 a meeting of the citizens of Delaware County convened under an act of the Ohio Legislature to establish The Delaware County Agricultural Society. Officers were elected with Milo Pettibone being president, Wilder Joy, vice president, Frederick Avery, secretary and William Little, treasurer. It was resolved that there be an exhibition of domestic animals and manufacturers on the first Friday in October of 1854, and that premiums based on quality be awarded.
The first home of the exhibition was on Delaware's east side, north of Central Avenue and west of the railroad. Numerous locations have hosted the event until its 1939 move to Pennsylvania Avenue. This annual exhibition continues to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of our community as evidenced by the merger of many other events from throughout the county including the Delaware Pumpkin Show, the Powell Fair, the Boys' Hog Show, the Rome Fair, and the Ashley Fair from which it inherited the oldest Junior Fair in the United States.
The Delaware County Fair remains the longest-lasting and largest annual event in Delaware County.
Little Brown Jug
Thanks to the vision of founders Joe Neville and Henry "Hank" Thomson, the Little Brown Jug has become "America's Pacing Classic". R. K. "Rollie" McNamara led the construction that would become the world's fastest half-mile track in harness racing located on these fairgrounds.
Ensign Hanover captured the inaugural Little Brown Jug Pace in four grueling heats on September 18, 1946 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Delaware native and Hall of Fame horseman Wayne "Curly" Smart was the winning driver. Ensign Hanover was bred by Hanover Shoes Farms and owned by Castleton Farms.
Since then, every September harness racing's top stars have come to Delaware, Ohio to compete in their sport's greatest event on the world's fastest half-mile track. In 1959, Pacing's Triple Crown was formed and the Little Brown Jug became part of the series along with the Messenger and Cane Pace. Sports Illustrated wrote, "The Little Brown Jug is one of the Top 100 World-Wide Sporting Events every sports fan must attend in their lifetime."