2016 marks the 22nd year that the Founder Lions Club of Wichita Falls, Texas has reestablished The Texas-Oklahoma Fair which began in Wichita Falls in 1922. After 5 years it failed. It then moved to Iowa Park, Texas as the Wichita County Free Fair. It expanded to a two state festival and again became the Texas-Oklahoma Fair in 1947. Purpose of the fair was to stimulate interest in agriculture, livestock, and industry of this region. Midways, rodeos, free entertainment, educational exhibits, contests, political speeches, and pioneers highlighted the annual show. Only in 1942 (World War II) was the fair cancelled. The horror of Sept. 11th, 2001, on opening day of the Wichita Falls fair did not crush the ‘SPIRIT’ of exhibitors or visitors, as the events were dedicated to the memory of those murdered in the Attack on America! Attendance in 2002 BOUNCED BACK and went over 117,000.
An estimated crowd of 175,000 viewed the 1961 fair, but tragedy struck in 1962 when fire hit the main auditorium prior to the fall opening. The show went on with tents, but a second fire the following January ended the Texas/Oklahoma Fair in Iowa Park, Tx.
Back in Wichita Falls the active members of Founder Lions Club started the Wichita County Fair (with and without livestock) using the downtown Activities Center (now the public library) & 4-H barn, but they saw the desire to show livestock and highlight the 4-H and FFA youth of the two state area. The club started the fund to build the MPEC AG. Center and the New Texas-Oklahoma Fair was returned to Wichita Falls in 1995…to be the third week of September each year!