The Alameda County Fair is an annual 11-day event that showcases the various
products of this California county. It also features products from the whole
state. The event is organized and operated by the Alameda County Agricultural
Fair Association at the Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
The Alameda County Fair originated in 1859 as a Floral Fair. The first modern
day Fair was held in 1939 and has been held annually with the exception of
the war years.
As with most state fairs in California, one of the major attractions is horse
racing. The fair grounds has a one-mile horse track in Pleasanton, California
that feature thoroughbred and quarter horse racing. The grandstand has a capacity
of 6,608 people. On live racing dates, it attracts close to 40,000 people.
The racetrack at the Alameda County Fair grounds is the oldest horse racing
track in America, dating back to 1858. It is in fact, older than New York’s
famous Saratoga racetrack. The sons of Spaniard Don Agustin Bernal constructed
it, and wealthy horse owners shipped their horses from the east to Pleasanton
for training during the winter months.
Alameda County Fair History
- Construction began on the horse racing track.
- The first modern Alameda County Fair was held in Pleasanton when the
owner of the racetrack, Rodney G. MacKenzie, pushed to host a fair on his property.
1913 and 1914
- The Alameda County Fair was held during these years, and though attendance
increased, it did not do well financially.
Alameda County Fair
- California legalized pari-mutuel betting.
- Mutuel wagering started in Pleasanton.
- The Alameda County Fair ran July 3-12, with nine days of races for
a handle of $432,644, which was a national record. The fair was suspended for
the next three years due to the war.
- The old wooden bandstand was torn down and the present concrete and
steel grandstand was built.
- This was a period of expansion for the Alameda County Fair grounds.
A 9-hole golf course replaced the inner racetrack in 1975.
- The Alameda County Fair hit the second highest racing handle in Fair
history at $35,776,350, up 4% from 2003. Contributing to that nearly record
high amount was the highest single day race handle in Northern California Fair
history, $4,586,825, on July 3rd.