The Free Street Fair
Organizers of the Hastings Free Street Fair held late in the summer of 1899 no doubt had
their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks when they printed up this "Complimentary
Coupon Ticket," now in the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society.
"The holder of this ticket," the coupon reads, "is hereby granted free admission to the fair
grounds during the entire week, also free bathing in the city park, bathing and camping
privileges with water and shade, free. Bring this ticket with you to the fair and it will secure
you these privileges on presentation to the committee on entertainment. Bring this with you
every day. It may enable your friends to identify you after the fair. Sign your name here.
"Coupon No. 1. (Not good if used.) Entitles the holder to admission to the balloon
ascensions, street theater and firemen's tournament free. Present this ticket at the gate and
you will be given a reserved seat for yourself and lady. Save coupon as performances change
daily. If desired holder may be admitted to fireworks and civic parade upon giving bond for
good behavior. Pickpockets and dudes are excluded from the grounds."
Beer-drinkers were the butt of the next coupon's humor: "Coupon No. 2, entitles the holder
to a free ride on the pleasure schooners Fremont and Fred Krug, which leave the harbor
mouth at all hours of the day and night. Dancing and chin music on board. Free punch on
application. Take any schooner in sight, all land at city cooler. This ticket will not be
accepted for bail if torn or ripped up the back. Conductor will direct you to schooners."
The final coupon "entitles the holder to admission to the 'hooche cooche' when accompanied
by chaperon with the required coin. Keep away from the cows; they like greens. Keep away
from the swine exhibit, unless properly entered, you may confuse the judges. Don't gawk--
people will think you are from Lincoln. If you don't see what you want address all kicks to
Fred Renner, Secretary. P.S. Lady who left false teeth in water cooler last year can have them
returned on application to above address."
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