Tag Archives: antelope valley

Antelope Valley Fair


The Antelope Valley Fair in Lancaster, CA

Minor Genre: 

Festival; Celebration


“One of the festivals we had growing up was the Antelope Valley Fair. I think these [fairs] go back to where every year, you grow a crop and all the farmers bring in their best livestock and crops and whatever and show off what they made. It’s a huge community coming together to have a celebration.

“In Lancaster, [the fair] was basically all of the kids who did FFA and 4H and would bring their show animals. Steers, pigs, and sheep were the main livestock. One year, I had a grand champion lamb that I showed. But [in addition to the livestock], you still had all the other arts and crafts and stuff and everything else. It always happened the last week of summer before school started.

“I was there every year, but probably when I was seven or eight was when I started 4H, and that was when we got really into it. But we probably went there just for fun my whole life. My dad’s older brothers did the haybaling competition; before everything was automated, guys would go out on trucks and have to lift these hay bales with pulleys and hay forks. They had tractor races, too –– basically anything associated with a farm. My uncles were haybaling champions for many years in the 1950s.”


Antelope Valley’s first main industry was agriculture, with farmers crowing crops such as alfalfa, various fruit, carrots, onions, lettuce, and potatoes. The city of Lancaster emerged as a bustling city with successful farming at the end of the 19th century, and in the 1980s, had a large increase in population due to the development of new housing tracts. The informant was born in 1974 and would have experienced the Antelope Valley Fair during the period of this population boom, which may have corresponded with a popularity increase in the county fair.

The informant’s memories of the Antelope Valley Fair suggests a heavy agricultural influence in both their personal life and in the city of Lancaster. He had a history of farmers in his family –– the informant’s father raised animals, and his uncles had experience baling hay –– which likely skewed his perception of the fair to lean more heavily on its agricultural experiences, particularly because the informant himself participated in 4H. Additionally, the farm-oriented activities such as competitive hay-baling suggest that success as a farmer was a highly valued trait in Antelope Valley during the time period.