Early each October, from 1903 to 1915, downtown Cokato was transformed from a retail center into a thriving street fair.  People came from miles around to see carnival entertainment, play games, and see huge displays of farm crops and home crafts.

The Cokato band would provide entertainment during breaks of the carnival shows and games.  Kids would get a chance to take a turn on midway rides like a colorful, brassy, merry-go-round.  Daring entertainers would thrill the audiences that gathered around them.  An acrobat would walk a tightrope stretched across the street.  Audible gasps would abound as a blindfolded knife thrower would aim his shears at his female partner.  Jugglers would balance a variety of airborne objects.

Street Fair High Wire Act

Politicians were also a common site at the carnival.  Governor Adolph Eberhardt visited the carnival in 1912.  Minnesota's U. S. Senator Moses E. Clapp came and spoke in 1905.  And local elected officials would make frequent appearances during the fall festivals.

The crop displays allowed farmers to show off their prize corn, squash, pumpkins, etc.  A long tent in front of the Swanson furniture store on Third Street showcased these products.  The village hall was the location of the home craft show.  Prizes were awarded to those who were tops in the crafts and crops contests.  It was a time for friends and neighbors to get together, and allowed Cokato businesses to showcase new products.   In time, interest waned, and the street fair fell to the wayside.

© Cokato Historical Society, 1997.