The Tangipahoa Parish Free Fair has proven, over time, to be an evolving force within the parish. Created in 1888, the Tangipahoa Parish Fair was held in Amite, Louisiana. Amite is considered the seat of Tangipahoa Parish, with the town being created in 1849 and the parish created in 1869. Most of the information contained within this report is due to the efforts of E.E Puls and the unknown author of “Looking Back 110 Years”.
The Tangipahoa Parish Fair, at the time (1888), consisted of 75 acres of land that featured a grandstand, racetrack, and exhibit rooms. While detailed written information on the first fairs is hard to obtain, personal interviews and stories handed down through local families give us details that would otherwise be lost.
One such story recalls the late Harry D. Wilson, Commissioner of Agriculture, speaking about harness racing at the fair; while, another story tells of an Amite resident that took part in saddle races during the fair.
In 1908 a tornado swept through the town of Amite and destroyed the fair grounds. By 1910, the fair had relocated to Hammond. Local citizens and business owners worked together with the Hammond Chamber of Commerce to secure land located on the western edge of town as the new home of the Tangipahoa Parish Free Fair. With the move came a name change; however, there is a dispute over the new name: either it was the Florida Parish Fair Association or the Hammond Fair Association. Much of the effort was due to the contribution of the Houlton brothers, two Minnesota timber men that moved to the area and took an active interest in the parish.