Today the fairground composes of 50+ Acres and the home of the Josephine County Fair. The fairgrounds is home for 5 High School Equestrian Teams, (3) Square Dance Clubs, Friends of the Fair Bingo, Winter Season Headquarters for the Growers Market, 4th of July Fireworks, Swap Meets, Grants Pass Downs Horse Racing, many community events such as Rotary’s First Crush, Veterans of Josephine and Jackson County Stand Up, Auctions, Circus, wedding receptions, Horse Shows, Rodeo and Motor Sport Events, Music Venues, 4-H Events are here yearly just to name a few.
The Josephine County Fairgrounds is staffed by a Fair Manager, (1) Full Time Office Specialist and a Part Time Office, (1) F/T Maintenance, (1) P/T Maintenance and a Night Watchman/Security. The Josephine County Fairgrounds is governed by the Fair Board which has a Chairman, Vice Chairman, 5 board members and a past manager who is the grant writer for capital improvement.
The mission of the Josephine County Fairgrounds and Fair Board is to provide a year-round, safe, clean, family oriented multi-use facility to strengthen and promote the agricultural, 4H and FFA traditions and the educational, economical, social and entertainment opportunities available to the community. We strive to maintain the Josephine County Fairgrounds in a fiscally responsible, professional manner in order to preserve the assets of Josephine County for future generations by forging good relationships with our citizens, user groups, volunteers and County Government.
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.
1907-1910-- 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. Before that point some 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.
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. In 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.
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—today’s 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-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 such as Rodeos and Motor Sports.
Today we have a four-day fair usually the third week 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, jams & jellies and other preserves, 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!!!