History

Shasta District Fair

The Shasta District Fair is an exciting rural fair. This 5-day fair is held annually Wednesday through Sunday in mid-June. It is without question the single largest annual event held inShastaCountyand attracts close to 100,000 people of all ages and backgrounds. We take great pride in our ability to safely and effectively produce the excitement, intrigue, fun, and attraction of our event, while maintaining the highest level of professionalism in business practice standards. We thought it would be fun and informative to show visitors how the fair started out, way back in the early days of ShastaCounty.

 

 

History of the Fair

 

  • According to the records: In 1880 the 10th District Agricultural Association was founded which included three counties: Siskiyou, Shasta and Trinity.  It is this association which organizes and puts on fairs.
  • The first fair in Shasta County was held in 1887. It opened with a parade lead by the Millville Bugle Band, followed by officers of the Association, the Grand Army, the Fire Department, Fraternal Societies, and visiting citizens who were in carriages and on foot. They had a mineral and agricultural display which was shown at Major George’s Hall. The fair was sponsored by the Shasta County Agricultural and Mineral Association.
  • In 1888 the exhibits were shown in the ‘new’ McCormick Saeltzer brick building onMarket Street.  There was no admission fee or charges for space.
  • In 1889 ShastaCountywithdrew from the 10th DAA and the 27th District Agricultural Association was formed. Its first fair was held in August, 1889 in thePineStreetSchool house. Admission was 50¢ for adults and 15¢ per child. (During this time a farm hand made $1-$2 per day). Fairs were held annually for the next 6 years.
  • The only fair that was held between 1894 and 1903 was in 1902.  It was held in Armory Hall (now the Shasta Regional Hospital site). Wilber Fish’s fence-making machine was one of the main attractions.  Debrowsky’s jewelry, Wm. Bergh’s furniture, Miss Margaret Bell’s minerals, and Leighton Bros. apples were also among the displays.
  • Due to the outbreak of WWI, no fairs were held from 1916 – 1918.
  • From 1918 – 1930 the Farm Bureau took over planning the annual fair, which was held in Anderson at the Terry Box Factory site (east side of the railroad tracks by the old Anderson Catholic Cemetery).
  • The depression of 1931 closed the Fair gates until 1935.
  • In March 1933 the first Board was appointed…an eight-person board, appointed and confirmed by Governor Rolph, and the 27th DAA was reactivated, but even though the Board was in place, the next fair wasn’t held until 1935.
  • Due to WWII, no fairs were held from 1942 – 1945.
  • Fairs have been held annually from 1946 to the present.

 

  • The Association started purchasing property at our current location the mid 1940’s; buildings and barns started going up.
  • In 1952 the annual fair was held in September. In addition to fair exhibits, the Association presented a rodeo, vaudeville acts, a dance, hard top races, and various other attractions.
  • The Fair was originally held in August. Over a period of time it moved to September, then July, and now it is held the 3rd week of June.  Since the move from August to June there have been less agricultural exhibits because crops are not harvested that early.  Over the years 4-H and FFA have become a beneficial part of our fair.  The JLA is a very vital part of our fair; our Auction grosses over $476,000.  The community truly supports the JLA, if you have never bought and would like to give our office a call and we will help you out, you don’t have to purchase a whole animal.
  • The first Secretary/Manager was Joseph Speer, who held the position from 1949 to 1967. Since then the Fair managers have been:
    • From 1967 – 1986 Dom Fusaro
    • From 1986 – 1997 Mark Campbell
    • From 1997 – 2005 Trish (Sciarani) Strawn
    • From 2005 to present – Chris Workman

 

 

 

 

 

This brings us to current times and here are some useful facts about the Fairgrounds:

  • The Shasta District Fair sits on 65 acres
  • We have a 3/8 mile paved track which we outsource to a promoter.
  • Grandstand seating is just under 3,000
  • Our three big buildings are named after the mountains:  Lassen, Shasta & Trinity, then there is Fusaro Hall named after Dom Fusaro.
  • Satellite Horse racing takes place in the Ferreira Hall building, named after Dr. Connie Ferreira who was a board member for 27 years.
  • We have 96 RV hook ups for which we charge $25/day.
  • We have the capability of parking approximately 5,000 cars in our parking lot.
  • The carnival takes up approximately 5 acres; we have 160 exhibit spaces which are inside buildings and on the grounds, and 30 concession stands.
  • The Shasta District Fair’s legal name is 27th District Agricultural Association.  Many people think we are a County Fair, but the actual Shasta County Fair is the Inter-Mountain Fair in McArthur.
  • Shasta District Fair is a State Agency; we are under the Department of Food and Ag.  There are 78 Fairs in the State of California. SDF is run by a nine member Board of Directors who are selected by the Governor of California.  Board Members are normally appointed to a 4 year term, the terms rotate, that means three Board Members terms expire every year.
  • Fairs Revenue: Fairs used to receive an allocation from the State of California. SDF is considered a level III fair which is a medium size fair; our allocation was around $240,000 per year. Our annual budget is approximately $1.1 million per year.  Fair allocations from 1932 to 2009 came from horse racing, not from the General Fund. Since horse racing has been declining over the years, fairs started looking for a different allocation source. In February 2009 fairs gave up the horse racing funding and then received monies from the Special Appropriation Funds, still not the General Fund. As of June 30, 2011 all fair funding has been cut from the State ofCalifornia’s budget. Fairs are the only department that was cut 100%.
  • The allocation we received was about 20% of our budget, which means we do have to work longer that one week of the year.  Some or all of our facilities are rented almost every weekend of the year.
  • We rent buildings for events from Sport Shows, Home and Garden Shows to Quinceanera’s, weddings, crab feeds, and lots of fundraisers. We also utilize our Dairy Barn, which is enclosed; for RV Storage.  RV’ers like our grounds for camping because they are park like, lots of grass, which is good and bad.  The bad part is maintaining the grass and that the grass isn’t usable during the winter months.  The good part is it’s much cooler in the summer months without all the pavement, like other fairgrounds.
  • SDF is used during disastrous and potentially dangerous times– fire camps as well as heating and cooling centers.
  • Economic Impact: Shasta District Fair generates approximately $6,784,000 in spending activity alone per year - benefitting the local economy and creating a ripple effect of economic benefit for the state.  The network of fairs generates upwards of $2.5 billon. The equivalent of 80 jobs is created as a result of spending by SDF, its support businesses and its attendees. The labor income generated by the additional jobs is projected to be approximately $2,680,000 annually. An estimated $58,300 annually in additional business taxes is created from the increased business activity caused by the fair, its attendees and ‘interim’ events (events held on the fairgrounds throughout the year).
  • SDF also provides an educational opportunity for our youth and wholesome entertainment for families. Many non-profit and charity-based organizations raise substantial portions of their annual budget through fundraising booths and activities at the fair (Search & Rescue, Boy Scouts, Rainbow Girls).

Today, the Shasta District Fair is the 27th District Agricultural Association under the direction of the Department of Fairs and Expositions of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. AsShastaCounty’s largest annual attended event, the Shasta District Fair provides a dynamic marketing tool for businesses and corporations to sponsor the event through tax-deductible donations.

It is important to note fairs and fairgrounds are not supported by tax dollars, but are funded by the fairs themselves with revenue from admissions, parking, food, and novelty concessions, carnival rides, sponsorships, and the rental of fairground buildings and facilities throughout the year.California’s fairs also receive a small percentage of money wagered at live horse racing and satellite wagering facilities.

Friends of Shasta District Fair, is a 501(c)3 non profit arm of the Fairgrounds.  We meet the third Wednesday of the month at 4:30 pm at the fairgrounds.