Ever wonder how the great State Fair of Oklahoma came to become so great? Or why we have a fair to begin with? Jump in our DeLorean and do a little time traveling with us.
When a young Oklahoma City had the opportunity to host the Farmers National Congress in 1907, city leaders were determined to do everything they could to make the convention a success. There was only one stipulation from the convention organizers: They wanted a fall fair so their delegates could see the achievements of agriculture in the new state.
Oklahoma citizens pushed for an annual fair as early as 1892, recognizing the impact that the fair could have on the new territory. Convinced of the potential, a coalition of business leaders gathered in the offices of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber on Jan. 18, 1907, to organize a state fair association. After months of planning, the first State Fair of Oklahoma celebrated its opening day on Oct. 5, 1907.
Here are a few more facts you may not know about the Oklahoma State Fair:
- The first State Fair of Oklahoma opened on Oct. 5, 1907, a few weeks before Oklahoma was officially granted statehood.
- The first fair attracted a crowd of more than 10,000 people.
- The State Fair Park moved to its current location in 1954.
- The park expanded its facilities in 1961 to included horse barns, a move that allowed Oklahoma City to earn its place as the “Horse Show Capital of the World”—a title that the city still holds today!
- The current park is 435 acres and hosts more than 180 events each year. The total attendance of these events is more than 2.28 million people annually.
- Oklahoma State Fair Park is located at the junction of two major highways, providing easy access from anywhere in the state (and nation!).
- The people of Oklahoma City support the fair in a big way. Citizens have improved major improvements to State Fair Park in both the MAPS I and MAPS 3 initiatives.