Summer arrives as fair season blooms with Melvern’s Sunflower Days

Just as the first day of summer arrives, Melvern is set to host the first county fair of the summer in Osage County. Melvern Sunflower Days 4-H Fair begins June 21, 2018, and winds down on June 23 with the traditional parade in downtown Melvern, along with three days of fair favorites such as a carnival, bingo, ice cream, and the hamburger stand.

Melvern has been celebrating Sunflower Days in one way or another since 1877. The 2018 Osage County Fair Book provides a short history of the event as remembered by some longtime residents.

Sunflower Days History

Mrs. Hobson recalls that the first celebration was held July 4, 1877, in a grove east of Melvern. This became an annual gathering, which in reality was the beginning of the Sunflower Picnics.

The first celebration under the name Melvern Sunflower Days was held on Sept. 15, 1910. The days were named for the sunflowers, which grew in abundance along the roads. Captain Hughes started the celebration. At that time it was a family time with picnic dinners, perhaps a political speaker of note, and with races and the like for the younger set. After Captain Hughes’ death, the townspeople used to decorate Hughes’ grave in the Melvern Cemetery west of town on the first day of the picnic.

The 4-H fair became a part of the event in 1948. Don and Genieve Evertson and Bill and Effie Irey were the 4-H leaders at the time. Three large open barns were built to house the livestock and other community buildings were opened for the clothing and food exhibits.

The purpose of the fair is to help the Osage County 4-Hers do the best they can by providing competition and judges who have their interests at heart. In 1981, the Marais des Cygnes Valley FFA Chapter was established at the high school and soon members of the chapter began showing livestock at the fair.

The 2018 Melvern Sunflower Fair Board and Entertainment Committee includes Dan Bowers, Danny Rice, Shannon Anschutz, Angie Treinen, Linda Irey, and Troy Treinen.

For information about all three county fairs in Osage County, see the 2018 Osage County Fair Book here.

Here’s the schedule for the three fun-filled days:

Melvern Sunflower Days 4-H Fair
June 21-23, 2018

Thursday, June 21

  • 3:30-5:30 p.m. – 4-H exhibit hall, registration.
  • 6 p.m. – Baby show, Melvern Community Center. Two age divisions (0-6 months
  • and 6-12 months). Sponsored by Helen Alley.
  • 6 p.m. – Homemade ice cream, Melvern Community Center. Sponsored by
  • Marais des Cygnes Valley FFA.
  • 6 p.m. – Army National Guard activities.
  • 6-11 p.m. – Toby’s Carnival.
  • 7-8 p.m. – Lawhorn Gospel Blues, Jack and Linda Lawhorn, basketball court
  • stage.
  • 8 p.m. – Bingo; Homemade ice cream, Melvern Community Center. Sponsored by
  • Marais des Cygnes Valley FFA.

Friday, June 22

  • 8-9:30 p.m. – 4-H exhibitor registration.
  • 10 a.m. – Exhibit hall judging.
  • 1 p.m. – Stockman competition, Round 1, livestock knowledge.
  • 3 p.m. – Stockman competition, Round 2, livestock evaluation.
  • 6 p.m. – Stockman competition, Round 3, showmanship.
  • 6 p.m. – Toby’s Carnival.
  • 6 p.m. – Army National Guard activities.
  • 8 p.m. – Bingo.
  • 7 p.m. – Homemade ice cream, Melvern Community Center. Sponsored by Melvern football families.
  • 7-9 p.m. – HB Drover Band, Bluegrass.

Saturday, June 23

  • 9 a.m. – Kids races, Melvern baseball fields. Old fashioned games – following kids races, Melvern baseball fields.
  • 6 p.m. – Toby’s Carnival.
  • 7 p.m. – Parade with theme, “Those crazy 80s”. Prizes for first, second and third place floats. Ice cream, Melvern Community Center. Sponsored by Melvern Junior Highline 4H Club; following the parade.
  • 7 p.m. – Bingo, following the parade.
  • 9 p.m.-12 a.m. – Savanna Chestnut and the Field Hands will be playing live at the Melvern Community Center. $3 entry fee per person and $20 per cooler. No concessions will be available. ID will be required for anyone consuming alcoholic beverages. Must be 21 years of age or older to enter.

Carnival note: Wristbands available for all three nights of the carnival. Tickets are $15 in advance. The carnival will offer wristbands for purchase the nights of the carnival but at a greater price. Wristbands can be purchased in advance from a fair board member, Circle L Convenience Store, or at the Lyndon State Bank, Melvern Branch.

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