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Songs and Stories
     September 3, 2019      #97-246 SsK

Merchant St Fair of 1899

By Jack Klasey

The complaint, “There’s nothing to do in Kankakee,” almost certainly wasn’t being uttered in the city in the second week of September 1899. During that period — from Monday to Saturday (Sept. 11-16) — two major events attracted visitors by the thousands to the community.

While one of those events, the Kankakee County Fair, was a popular annual draw, the other was a never-before-held celebration: the Merchants’ Street Fair of 1899. The street fair filled the downtown area with locals and tourists enjoying parades, bandstand concerts, entertainment tents, refreshment stands and booths erected by the ...

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Jack Klasey
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