This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Referring to the forthcoming exhibition of the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Fair, a correspondent says:
"They do some things better in London in the matter of prizes for an agricultural fair, and set us an example, we can well afford to follow. At the agricultural exhibition to be held in London, in July next, over $60,000 will be offered in prizes, and about $200,000 is being raised to conduct the enterprise. Our railroad companies and business men will do well to make a note of the above item and guage their efforts for promoting the success of the State Agricultural Fair to be held at the Permanent Exhibition on that basis. We thus sec that there are other methods besides a protective tariff' which England uses to bring her industries and general productiveness up to the highest standard".
[We must say as we have so frequently said of late, that our exhibitions must be modified in their management before they will be popular as they once were. They have stood still while the world has moved, and especially is this so in the matter of premiums, which ought in these days to be awarded on intrinsic and not on comparative merits.
Exhibitions are for the purpose of encouraging the highest skill, and in order to accomplish this the managers desire to make it - first, the interest of people to exert this high effort for ex-excellence; secondly, the interest of people to exhibit the result of these efforts at excellence; thirdly, the interest of every body to see and to hear of these results.
In the olden times when people read little; when they had to go to see in order to learn; when there were but one or two great exhibitions which they had the chance to attend, then there was no difficulty in getting good things to show, and plenty of people to look at them. But now the printing press is the great educator, and people already know all about the things they expect to see. The average exhibitor would give more for a ten line puff in a powerful newspaper than for all the advantage possible that could accrue from the trouble and fuss attendant on an " exhibit." But if the managers of exhibitions were to enlist an intelligent press in their behalf; were to employ the best liteary talent to write out and explain the merits of the articles exhibited; were to employ the most intelligent judges capable of distinguishing intrinsic merits of these exhibitons as discerned by these judges and displayed by the intelligent secretaries, there would then be an inducement for the best skill to exert itself on the best of productions where they would be adequately honored.
And if to all this, handsome rewards would be added in the shape of money, medals, plate or certificates, so much the better.
At present all that John Smith can hope for is for three good men and true to assert that his pig is a better one than John Brown's, and that he is entitled to a couple of dollars for bringing it before them, and he may, perhaps if the local newspaper is generous, see in its columns a line read " first premium for pig, John Smith." After all this, if he is a business man, he may spend a hundred dollars in advertising that his "pig took the first premium at the Jonestown Fair." But every business man knows that he could get a certificate of the excellence; of that pig from Judge this, or the Reverend that, without all the fuss of an exhibition, and at a hundreth part the cost, and so he does not take his goods to the fair. In hard, solid logic " it does not pay".
We fancy, however, that our people will go on as before for some years yet, and wonder "why exhibitors do not come out?" as they have been doing the few past years].