The Vermont State Fair was close to celebrating its centennial when Jack Delano took this photo in September 1941. It started in 1846, one of the first ever in the United States.
Delano was a photographer for the U.S. government for the Farm Security Administration, a New Deal program that evolved into the Office of War Information. Photographers for the FSA/OWI took iconic photos of America during the Great Depression and World War II.
By 1849, the fair had become so popular the Rutland Rail Yard put extra cars on trains to bring people from western New York and Vermont. It moved to a two-day event and then expanded to three days in 1893 as more and more attractions were added.
The fair was closed for the first time ever in 1917 because of the influenza epidemic. The State of Vermont closed all other public gatherings to prevent the spread of the disease.
A fire destroyed the fairground's grandstand on June 17, 1939. It was rebuilt in just 40 days -- in time for the fair. In 1942, the year after Delano took these photos, the Vermont State Fair was limited to one day because the United States was fighting World War II.
Delano's caption for this photo reads, 'Backstage' at the 'girlie show.'