The Great Danbury State Fair in Danbury, Connecticut operated for ten days in the fall from 1869 - 1981. The "Fair," had everything for everyone!
The Fair celebrated agriculture & livestock. It featured original quaint Villages. Thrilling amusement rides, arcade games & food vendors at every turn. There were tram rides that cruised the 150 plus acre-grounds, and the famous "Bigtop" that had everything under one enormous tent; fruits, vegatables & homeade pies. Musical acts. Dancing. Farm stands & booth after booth of wonderous things for sale.
The daily parade was like no other, weaving about the fairgrounds, featuring marching bands, bands on floats, horse drawn carriages, clowns, animals & themed floats! The parade would culminate on the Danbury Racearena race- track where thousands packed the grandstand to witness the most spectacular and unique acts the country had to offer like The Joie Chitwood Thrill Show, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, musical acts, agricutlural events, even ostrich races! From its inception, racing was an intergral part of the Fair's success, beginning with horse races in 1869.
Over its history, the track and Racearena would feature racing off all kinds including Midget auto racing, Speedboats, and in the latter days, Stock cars and Modifieds. "Saturday Night at the Races," focuses on when Fair owner John W. Leahy and Assistant General C. Irving Jarvis Sr. incorporated the Southern New York Auto Association club (SNYRA) to the Racearena -- featuring highly competitive auto racing that jam-packed the stands on Saturday nights throughout the summer and into October's "Fair Week. " The documentary will reminisce with celebrated drivers, fans and highlight the Fair's remarkable history.
On-Camera interviews for this production include:
Mario Andretti. Don LaJoie. Joie Chitwood Jr. Randy LaJoie. Joe Baker.
Andy Montanari. Charles Irving Jarvis Jr. Jack Stetson. Bone Stevens.
Art Davis. Corey LaJoie. Nick Gardina. Jerry Nadeau. Lou Funk Jr.
Frank Hislop. Johnny Kerslake. Rich Hutwohl. Billy Layda. Ken Brown.
Art Knapp. Ernie Marshall. Ron Barrett. Harry Hanson. Francis Burdick.
Betty Gardina. Barbara Webb. Billy Michaels and more.
Additionally, audio excerpts from an interview with Chick Stockwell, held
by Charles I. Jarvis Jr. in the 90's.
Thank you to our sponsors!
SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE RACES will feature original Danbury Fair 8mm film footage from C.I. Jarvis Sr. and Irv Jarvis, dating back to the 1950's. Dozens of interviews have been compiled of drivers from the midget, stock car and modified racing days. Also feature are still photographs from the Danbury Fair staff photographer Bob Manion, courtesy of his daughter Colleen Manion, plu original Fair sketches and memorabelia from the C. Irving Jarvis collection, courtesy of the Jarvis & Hutwohl familes.
This is an independent production and relies on donations and sponsors to continue forward. SPONSOR or DONATE.
Produced by Richard Hutwhol
SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE RACES
Memories of The Great Danbury State Fair & Danbury Racearena