Summertime is fair time and that means we'll be heading back to the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds within the next few months.

But have you ever wondered why the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds were named this way?

Turns out the name comes from the way the land where the fairgrounds currently sit was obtained.

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"On June 3, 1938, Mrs. Winona A. Lyon deeded to Minnehaha County 49.57 acres of land on the west side of the Sioux River, south of Highway 38, near West Sioux Falls for use as a fairground, subject to rigid "exceptions, reservations, restrictions and limitations". Under the terms of the gift, the grounds must be designated as the "William H. Lyon Fair Grounds" and shall be maintained, managed, and controlled by the County Commissioners and their successors in office, for use of the public as a County Fair Grounds, wherein generally specified displays of farm produce, livestock and crafts could be exhibited, and 4-H Clubs and Home Extension work could be demonstrated. Provision is also made for the entertainment of the public with amusements of various kinds."

In 1940, the Sioux Empire Fair Association Inc. eventually took over the grounds from the county via a lease. The fair that was held in 1940 was much larger than it had been in prior years as now they could offer horse racing, outdoor pageants, comedies, and plays.

On July 17, 1942, more land was given from Winona Lyon with some plans for an easier way to access the fairgrounds. This new land was solely for 'providing a highway' and that the highway should be designated as Lyon Boulevard.

There is also a bronze plaque memorial that has been commemorated to the late W.H. Lyon.

Source: Sioux Empire Fair

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