No, not that King.
King’s Fair is coming to Matthew’s Park on Sept. 19.
Every two years the Seward Neighborhood Group puts on a neighborhood fair at Matthews Park that is meant to commemorate the King’s Fairs produced by Colonel William S. King at that site, from 1877 to 1882.
The idea for a fair at that location got started earlier, in 1863, when the Hennepin County Agricultural Society purchased land covering the area from what is now 24th Avenue to 30th Avenue, from Franklin to 24th Street, but they didn’t have the money to develop it. A different solution came about. From Wikipedia: “In 1865 four businessmen decided to contribute to the promotion of Minneapolis by sponsoring the first fair. George A Brackett, Dorilus Morrison, William S. King and J.M Eustis provided $13,000 to build a fence, a racetrack and several other buildings. It was a great success, and reportedly drew a crowd of 12,000 to 15,000 people. Nevertheless, the fairgrounds were not used again until 1877.
“In 1877 as president of the Minnesota State Agricultural Society, Colonel William S. King was in charge of the first ‘Minneapolis Exposition.’ Many buildings were erected including an Agricultural Hall, Mechanical Hall, Art Hall, racetrack, amphitheater, dining rooms and stables. Thousands of people came from Minnesota and the surrounding states. In 1878 Colonel William S. King continued the fair with sponsorship again by a group of Minneapolis businessmen in conjunction with the Minnesota Agricultural and Mechanical Association. Many special events were staged through the years including an appearance by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878, and an impressive hot-air balloon launch in 1881. The balloon’s destination was Boston or Philadelphia or New York depending on the air currents, but instead landed a few miles away in a field in Ramsey County.”
Eventually the Minnesota State Fair evolved from these fairs, as well as from others held in various other locations, and found a permanent home. After 1882 King’s Fair ended and the King’s Fair tract was developed with homes, businesses and churches.
Although King’s Fair was gone, William King had left his mark on his city:
•Lyndale Avenue: a Minneapolis street taking its name from Lyndale Farm, a 1,400-acre estate owned by William S. King.
•King Field: a park built on part of King’s farm.
•King’s Highway: a section of Dupont Avenue in South Minneapolis.
•King’s Hill: a popular sledding hill at Lyndale Farmstead Park.
•Lyndale Farmstead Park: a recreational area at 39th Street and Bryant Avenue South that was part of a vast farm belonging to William S. King and named for his father, Rev. Lyndon King.
•Northrup-King Seed Company: a prominent Minnesota business, whose founders included William S. King and his son Preston.
This year’s King’s Fair will be on Saturday, Sept. 19, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Matthews Park.
ACTIVITIES: Strong Man contest; Moon Walk; Pony rides; Bungie game for older kids; Dog Costume parade and contest; The Baron of Bubble (1-3:30 p.m.); Hula Hoop—Pop Up Hoop Jam (2-4 p.m.); Chalktown; Strong Man Contest; Petting Zoo (2-5 p.m); ArtiCulture; History Tent; Jugglers; City of Minneapolis drinking fountains; Ping Pong table for conversations-Spring Board for the Arts; Park Board mini putt.
BANDS and ENTERTAINMENT: The Jim Chenoweth Trio (12-12:50 p.m.) Jazz standards, reworked classics from the ’60s, and some original compositions. Argos (1:05-1:55 p.m.) Argos is a 65-year-old local Somali oud player. He has been playing the oud for over 40 years now, usually performing at small events and community gatherings. He captivates the audience by setting a soft engaging mood with his traditional folk style and lyrical finesse. Top Rookie (2:05-2:40 p.m.) A Minneapolis local rap trio who met in middle school and all currently attend South High School. They released their first song as a group in November 2012, and have been releasing music since. Asma Farah is an emerging spoken word artist. Born in Gambia and raised in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, Farah’s work explores what it means to be a part of the Somali diaspora. The Coxmen (3-3:50 p.m.). Machinery Hill (4:10-5 p.m.).
The King is coming in September
No, not that King.