Big Fresno Fair unveils new museum

September 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
As the Big Fresno Fair moves forward and enters its 130th year, CEO John Alkire felt it was also very important to document the past.

Over the past eight months Alkire and his staff have a created a new museum. The museum offers a trip back in time.

Alkire felt the need to put the fair's rich history on display. He explained, "We're trying to preserve and protect what's been good in the past so future generations will know what we've done."

Iconic images from the Pop Laval collection are sprinkled throughout to help tell the stories of life at the fair. Old posters and scrapbooks helped piece together what Alkire calls a giant jig-saw puzzle.

Mike Kohlier's artwork connects the collection.

Alkire said, "A lot of people aren't aware aviation was really big at the Big Fresno Fair."

A 1930 film offers proof visitors enjoyed the plane races at the fairgrounds.

A collection of old banners from the fair are also featured but one stands apart. "It's a hundred years old. It's 1913. It's the oldest banner we have."

Butler Amusements donated a classic carousel horse.

The museum has also benefitted from generous donors like the Caglia family.

Alkire showed us an old ticket booth from the Caglia exhibit, a 1900's manual ticket counter.

An old switchboard dates back to the early 1900's. You can also see the first cotton candy machine from 1921.

As Alkire spreads word of the museum people keep stepping up to tell him they have an item he needs to display.

"This has been a labor of love," said Alkire. "I think it's a job that needed to be done and I think it will be my legacy."

The museum will be available to groups for guided tours only. The fair welcomes any memorabilia you'd like to donate.

In fact, whoever brings in the oldest museum item will win two season tickets to next year's fair.


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