1908 Perry Missouri Corn Carnival
One of the Biggest Attractions of the Season in Northeast Missouri
The Carnival at Perry last week was largely attended. The crowd on the first day was estimated from 5,000 to 6,000, the second day 8,000 to 10,000 and the third day from 5,000 to 6,000. Streets, vacant lots and business houses were filled to capacity. In fact it was not only a carnival, but it was a homecoming. People were here from distant states and from miles around.
The Perry people got busy and turned themselves loose and decorated the town until the residents could not tell whether they were in Perry or New York City. The business houses were decorated in a tasty and artistic fashion with decorations that were beautiful and expensive.
Three high towers were erected, one at the corner of Palmyra and Jefferson streets; one at Palmyra and Main; another at Main and Gill streets. Electric lights were strung from these towers making the main part of town as light at night as during the day.
Readers, those of you [who] did not behold this beautiful sight, must draw on your imagination to appreciate this beautiful scene up in rainbow fashion.
Then think of 265 exhibits of white, yellow, red and calico corn piled up in 21 ear piles on tables 6 feet long with the supporting poster decorated with small grains. On each side was a tier of different varieties of apples, pears, peaches and grapes. On the other side were all sorts of small grain displayed in sacks and baskets. There were also vegetables ranging from common string bean to the mighty pumpkin. The walls were decorated with sheaves of oats, wheat and grasses.
One corner was occupied with the “Pioneer” exhibits with a large number of pictures of men and women who converted this lone country into a flourishing land and the exhibits were made by the grandest and best people in the world.
In the “cozy corner” was the “cooking” fresh from the ladies ovens. There were preserves, jellies and butter on shelves and in cases. There were exhibits of needle work by the ladies and flowers from the various flower stands.
The exhibit hall was 48 X 100 feet with a canvas top and the ceiling was decorated with corn strung on wires. It was on the front of this building that the artist Warren Hatcher, got in his good work. On each side of the entrance was a representation of a large window made from corn, cedar and goldenrod. Over the entrance was [sic] the words “King Korn” made of corn. The room at the rear of the hall was loaned by Richards Cash Store for the housing of additional exhibits, it was as Dickens said, “The Old Curiosity Shop.”
Relics from several decades had been brought out of the family safety boxes and spread for the people to see and to contemplate on the instruments and tools with which the hardy pioneers battled for sustenance and against their neighbors.
We could not in a week’s time at steady writing do justice with our pens to the exhibits and buildings. These meager points are not a fair commencement.
Friday was designated as “Hannibal and Center” Day and they were in full force. Eleven coaches were filled, principally with Hannibal and some from New London. The Center people, realizing the coaches would be filled down the line before the train came to Center were not to be out done. They decorated three flatcars, provided seats for the ladies and proceeded to fill these cars to their capacity. It was a sight to see. Thursday the train brought in four crowded coaches. On Saturday there were eight coaches and most of them were from New London.
The editor is completely worn out in body and mind and we will have to give up trying to record all of the happening and the names of the visitors. It is simply too big a thing for us to handle.
The Fox Hunt Friday was largely attended by experienced fox hunters and trained dogs, but the hunt was not a success on account of it being so dry. A fox could not be trailed. The managers of the hunt went to a great deal of trouble and were sorely disappointed in not being able to entertain their visitors with a good old fashioned hunt.
The “Enterprise” editor is happy. We have been working for some kind of a gathering at Perry for ten years. Well we had it and wasn’t it grand? When these Perry people do get woke up there is no limit.
The sprinkling of business streets was a great help.
The people from Illinois and Iowa were perfectly astonished at the exhibits and could hardly believe what their eyes beheld. Some of the women from these states begged samples of fruit and corn to take to show to their husbands who are prejudiced to Missouri.
Judge Priest and Field Alford attended the State Fair at Sedalia and both say the Perry Carnival exhibits excelled the exhibits at Sedalia.
Atty. J.O. Allison, of New London, the “daddy” of the Carnival in Ralls, says the Perry Carnival corn exhibit far surpassed anything ever held in the county.
J.W. Stevens, of near Hutchison, attended the Carnival. He says: “I attended the State Fair at Springfield, Illinois and the Corn Carnival of Louisiana and their corn exhibits did not come up with the Perry Carnival corn exhibit.” What do you think about corn being raised on $40 to $60 acre land, being as good as that on $100 to $150 acre land?
E.W. Keithley, the extensive real estate dealer of Center, did the handsome thing by the Carnival managers in presenting to them a draft for $5.00 to assist in meeting the expense. Ed is alright, and the Perry people certainly appreciate his substantial assistance, which will not be forgotten. We doff our hat to him, one of Center’s most enterprising and influential citizens.
The people almost had the Carnival over again Monday at the sale of products left by the exhibitors for the benefit of the Carnival expense. But few people took away their exhibits, but showed spirit in leaving their products to be sold at public sale. Bidding was lively and articles brought good prices. Piles of 21 ears sold at from 25 cents to $5.50. W.R. Netherland bought 2 piles of yellow corn raised by W.S. Carroll at $3.30 and $1.50 per pile. Mr. Netherland bought 21 ears raised by E.L. Cobb for $5.50 and R.M. Judy paid the same price for 21 ears raised on J.O. Allison’s farm and R.A. Keithley $3.25 for the same amount raised on the same parties farm.
The Black Diamond Coal Co., operated by Jake Phillips and Jas. Keenan had on exhibit 3 chucks of coal: 350, 450 and 1,200 lbs.
C.B. Hutchinson [sic], representative of the Agricultural College at Columbia, who passed judgment on the Carnival corn exhibits, stated that on an average the corn exhibit was ahead of any exhibit he had seen this year.
The ladies rest room in the Botts & Hoar hotel provided a source of great convenience and comfort to the ladies and their babies.
Charles Ricks had 7 opossums, Thomas Long 3 opossums, and a coon and R.M. Judy had a fox on exhibition on the streets. C.B. Hutchison [sic] of Columbia and expert corn judge on a test graded the white corn of Hon. J.O. Allison on exhibition at the Carnival at 90 ¾ percent [and] the yellow corn of W.S. Carroll at 89 percent, which is considered a high percent.
William Wilkerson of Santa Fe says Monroe county people are prize winners when it comes to “strength.” Pattering after the Roosevelt idea and pulling the rope. [sic]
The Center and New London people captured numerous prizes at the Carnival. Likewise Monroe County people came in for their share.
Warren Hatcher of New London, who so faithfully assisted in decorating, classifying and managing the exhibits in the exhibit hall had a large number of exhibits in the different departments that captured 16 blue ribbons, 4 red, 3 whites and one yellow.
To verify that the Perry Carnival corn exhibit was the largest in this part of the state we have figures from a reliable man who has kept a record of the number of corn exhibits: Perry had 265 exhibits of corn, New London had 182, Center 132 and Hannibal 162.
Center must have been deserted Friday from the large number of those good people in attendance. These people done well their part to make the Carnival a success. The Perry people should bear this in mind and reciprocate by assisting Center next time she has a “blow out.” Perry people don’t forget this.
The New London people were not slow in making the Carnival a success. They contributed largely toward the exhibits, as well as in attendance. The Perry people are under obligations to return favors to them in the future and should by all means do so.
A list of the Old Relics and Pioneers will appear in a later edition.
“A Girl in a Thousand” was one of the features of the carnival program. Competent judges pronounced the play one of the best home talent shows they ever attended. Each member of the play handling their part with distinction and credit. The specialty features sketched and staged by Ernest Koons, the piano tuner at the Dye Music House was of a superior nature, attractive, interesting and amusing. He is certainly an artist in that line.
Parade line up
First the band, next to Entre Nous Club Ladies decorated float, Shetland pony rode by little Eva Smith, Misses Bessie Scobee and Effie Cable, advertising the formers millinery store. L.J. Stark’s delivery wagon, decorated to represent the White House Groceries. Robert Dye with a wagon full of groceries, representing the Bledsoe & Son business. Robey-Robinson Lumber Co., lumber yard wagon loaded with lumber. Arch Fitzpatrick’s wagon covered with vines of different kinds, James Cullen seated in a buggy, advertising Coil & Fairbairn, J.R. Dye, driving a fine team of horses, Harry Elam, leading a fine colt, Miss Blanche Wolfenbarger, Fun Wolfenbarger and Edgar Dye riding fine horses, Judge Gill seated on a fine steed, O.D. Reese, representing a cowboy advertising the Bijon Dream, Masters Thomas McClintic and Meloan Gill riding horse[s], Clark & Boulware meat delivery wagon, Monroe County rope pullers.
(Text prepared by Sue Delaporte & photos Ralls County Historical Society)