110 Years Of Yankee Doodle Women

For 110 years, the Westport Woman’s Club has sponsored the Yankee Doodle Fair.

Attractions and entertainment have changed. But for 100 years, fair-goers have wondered “Who puts this on?”

When someone tells them, their next question is, “What’s the Westport Woman’s Club?”

To answer a century-plus of inquiring minds — and to honor their 110-year history — the WWC has hung a pop-up exhibit inside Bedford Hall. (That’s the wonderfully refurbished auditorium in their Imperial Avenue clubhouse, on the hill overlooking the Yankee Doodle Fair.)

Nearly 120 placards recount all those years of Westport Woman’s Club fundraising, and service to the town.

A placard honoring the organization that became the Westport Woman’s Club …

The story begins long before women could vote, and provides a fascinating window on women’s history, locally and nationally.

It also provides insight into public health and social services delivery here, before and after town government got involved.

… and one tying together 1920 and 1958…

It’s all for a great cause. Funds raised at the Fair go right back into the community, as grants and scholarships.

Just as they have for the past 110 years.

… and a very intriguing third.

(The Yankee Doodle Fair — and accompanying exhibit — are open tonight and tomorrow [Thursday and Friday, June 15-16], 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday hours are 1 to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.)

A classic merry-go-round, at the Yankee Doodle Fair. (Photo courtesy Pam Barkentin)

11 responses to “110 Years Of Yankee Doodle Women

  1. Dorothy Abrams

    Hoping for good weather and goof fun. I’ve many happy memories of the fair.

  2. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    Does anyone know what year the picture of the Merry go round was taken? The young boy behind the boy in the stripped shirt really looks a lot like my brother. We always loved the Yankee Doodle Fair. Such good sweet memories of a time gone by.

  3. David Stalling

    I have fond memories of the Yankee Doodle Fair, but was not aware of the interesting and proud history of the WWC. Thanks for posting!

  4. Janice Beecher

    I do have great memories of the Yankee Doodle Fair during the ’50s and ’60s. My mother was a very active member of the Westport Women’s Club.

  5. Fred Cantor

    I thought that no part of “Rally Round the Flag, Boys” was filmed in Westport. Is there a definitive answer to that?

  6. Ginny Hamil Clark

    One very warm summer eve my father took me to the Yankee Doodle Fair. I was about five years old. (We went every summer) Under a very brightly lighted tent, I sat for an artist who did a very nice charcoal of me and I have it in my home upstairs room. It is a wonderful memory for me of my dad who knew the artist (sailing CPYC). I treasure it. It only took about 20 mins to a half hour for the rendering. The artist was Harold von Schmidt. Another great memory of Westport!

  7. Linda Parker

    Well – this post really brings back the memories. Thanks, Dan. My mother, Margaret Grabill, worked countless hours cooking for the Yankee Doodle Fairs in the ’50’s. No air conditioning then – hot work, roasting dozens of turkeys! But she loved doing this, and had some great helpers in young folk from Staples(Mike Youngman comes to mind). My sister and I were on a summer sojourn, but helped many years and always enjoyed this great tradition!

  8. Linda Parker

    Memories of Mom – in the 50’s!

  9. Ginny Hamil Clark

    For many years, the fair was so small, it was always held on Jesup Green. The picture of the merry-go-round looks to be late 40’s, just a guess. The fair became a lot larger, and was moved to the sandlot below the Women’s Club much later, after 1950. Thanks Dan for the post.

  10. Dorothy E Curran

    Thanks, Dan! Well said.


    Dorothy E. Curran Cell: 203.246.543

    Sent from my iPhone