Big Fresno Fair is the fifth largest fair in the State of California. It boasts
of an average daily attendance of 45,000 during its yearly October run.
More than 550,000 Californians visit the Big Fresno Fair each year, making
it the largest and longest running special event in the Central Valley.
One of the events held at the Big Fresno Fair is horse racing. The Fair holds
it on a one-mile track that features thoroughbred, quarter horse, appaloosa,
Arabian, and mule racing.
The venue of live horse racing is the Brian I. Tatarian Grandstand. It has
a capacity of 5,125 persons.
Funding for the Fair and the fairgrounds is sustained by a licensing fee on
wagers placed on horse racing. Pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing in California
was allowed through a constitutional amendment in 1933, with a portion of the
revenues designated to support the network of California fairs.
Big Fresno Fair Track Facts
from last turn to finish line
History of the Big Fresno Fair
A group of prominent Fresno citizens formed the Fresno Fairgrounds
Association. They spearheaded the establishment of the Fresno Fair to showcase
the quality and variety of the area’s agricultural and livestock products.
The first fair was held during the week of October 7. It consisted
of a horse racing meet for trotters, and livestock and produce exhibits. Confidence,
a three year old race horse was favored to win the opening day handicap, where
a purse of $100 went to the winner. Many of Fresno’s prominent families
were in the grandstand, but some preferred to view the proceedings from their
carriages parked in the infield.
Big Fresno Fair
Fresno Chamber of Commerce managed the Fair.
Since early 1930s
The Big Fresno Fair adopted a “one-pay-gate”. This policy
was so successful that soon most fairs throughout the nation adopted it.
1942 to 1947
The Fairgrounds became a temporary holding facility for Japanese Americans
interned by the U.S. Government, and later became a military base for processing
1948 to present
The Fair was reborn and continued to grow over the next quarter-century
and today ranks as one of the largest fairs in the Golden State. Located in
what is now the world’s agricultural capital.