HISTORY OF THE JOSEPHINE COUNTY FAIR
Fairs have been popular throughout Josephine County’s history and were hosted by many organizations. Fairs boosted industrial and irrigation interests and mining. Some fairs touted Southern Oregon’s superior climate and farm products. Some featured farmers and their fat stock with horse racing contests, quilt displays and baked goods competitions.
1907-1912: Grants Pass hosted an Irrigation and Industrial Fair. In 1909 farmers held a Grange Fair in Williams at the Woodman Hall. The Williams Grange Fair moved to town in 1912 and was held at the Paddock Building and on “I” Street.
1913: The State of Oregon outlined how County Fair Boards would be governed and that each county would have one fair covering all interests for the whole county.
1914: The name Josephine County Fair was selected as the official name for the fair.
1913-1915: The Grange Fair moved to Murphy Grange Hall and was renamed "The Josephine County Fair."
1916: The Josephine County Fair once again moved closer to town and settled at the Ball Park [aka City Park, and now Riverside Park] and was held there until 1926 except when interrupted by WWI.
1927: The talk about finding a permanent home for The Josephine County Fair had come to fruition. Approval was given and land was purchased on Redwood Highway—todays location. So later that same year, the Fair was no longer under canvas but had 3 permanent buildings which are still standing today along with the many vendors that come to the Fair. Josephine County Fair has been held at this permanent location continuously except during WWII [1942-1945] when the Fairgrounds was requisitioned to assist in the war effort.
1921-1975:The Fair included Horse Racing, music concerts, 4-H, FFA, carnival rides, cotton candy, candy apples and everything you could imagine to have a great family time at a county fair.
1976 to Present: Once Southern Oregon Horse Racing Association (SOHRA) starting Horse Racing earlier in the year and were no longer part of the fair, that opened the doors for other entertainment out at the grandstands.
Today we have a five-day fair usually held in August with Fair entries from all over the county and adjoining counties as well. Some of the events and entries include 4-H, FFA, preserved foods, baked goods, quilting, photography, arts & crafts, flowers, agriculture and horticulture, granges, carnival rides, clowns, jugglers and many other grounds acts, music entertainment, rodeos, motorsports, vendors from all over and of course some the best Fair Food in the state! So make it an annual family event and come on out and join us for some County Fair Fun!