The annual festival, or fair, dates back to ancient times with the Mesopotamians, Indians and Greeks. During the Middle Ages the fair evolved into a combination religious and market event with merchants selling exotic goods from faraway places as well as local farmers selling their produce. The Modern Agricultural 4-H County Fair emerged when Massachusetts resident Elkanah Watson needed an event to show his prize sheep. Watson became an early advocate for agricultural fairs as educational venues for farmers. The county extension service grew out of this need for agricultural education.