The Oregon State Fair and Exposition is the oldest known fair in Oregon State today. It is the official fair and exposition of Oregon. Scheduled between August and September each year in northern Salem. The fairgrounds cover over 185 acres.
The Oregon State Fair and Exposition started years ago in the middle of 19th century. The fair eventually began returning on a regular basis in 1862. Since 2006, the fair is organized by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department. Since then, running of the fair has been shouldered by the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center (OSFEC). The OSFEC was created for the fair’s proper handling and supervision.
In the early 19th century, farming communities throughout Oregon State decided to form agricultural groups and associations. The primary goal was to share useful information and resources to improve. These gatherings also provided opportunities to show off a farmer’s skills. These groups and associations started organizing county fairs in and around the state.
One such fair was Yamhill County fair in 1850. Being quite successful, they decided to expand and try a statewide fair to promote a spirit of togetherness. In 1858, an unofficial fair was organized by the Oregon Fruit-growers Association (OFA). This first fair held by the OFA is recognized as the anniversary of the official Oregon State Fair. Two years after the OFA unofficial fair, many groups joined the OFA. This was the beginning of the Oregon State Agricultural Society.
Today, there are different events that take place during the fair. But in the early years, the fair only showcased crops, livestock, and art of Oregon locals. New ideas that would increase crop yield were also shared. Now the fair includes horse racing, judging competitions, games, food and popular entertainers.
The LB Day outdoor amphitheater was named after an Oregon State senator. The senator was a large supporter of the fair. The newest building on the Fairgrounds is now indoor pavilion, completed in 2004. This pavilion has a capacity to hold 5,000 visitors.