History

The Wyoming State Fair officially started in 1905 and is located in Douglas, Wyoming. The fair has always been an event that has showcased the culture and heritage of Wyoming and has been a constant thread weaving through the fabric of Wyoming's history. The Wyoming State Fair has been a gathering point for generations of families, while providing a quality educational experience and entertainment for all who have attended.

The Wyoming State Fair is a celebration of all things Wyoming and showcases our pride in our heritage, agriculture, industry, youth, entrepreneurs, artists and more. We are proud to say that the Wyoming State Fair is what we feel state fairs are meant to be; agriculturally focused events with an emphasis on education and youth activities. As the largest youth competition in the state, the Wyoming State Fair provides educational experiences and exposure to the agricultural industry for the competitors that are being molded into Wyoming's finest. Unlike many state fairs, these competitions are center stage and very prominent at the Wyoming State Fair. Champions are made here and young people from around the state are proud to have earned an opportunity to compete at the Wyoming State Fair.

To really appreciate the history of the Wyoming State Fair, one needs to take a trip through the Pioneer museum located on the fairgrounds, grab a copy of the 100th Wyoming State Fair commemorative book, dig through the files at the library, and more importantly, visit with the Old Timers. These State Fair pioneers will tell you some of the most wonderful stories surrounding the events and the years at the Fair with a warmth and feeling lost in printed words.

With that said, below you will find a timeline of important events in the history of the Wyoming State Fair.

1905 Clark Brothers contracted to build grandstands with a roof, exhibition hall, two horse stables, one cattle and one sheep shed, a poultry house and 2/3 to ¾ a mile of board fence. Grandstand cost $500.00.
1913 An agricultural exhibit hall was built at a cost of $20,000
1915 Fair constructed an additional Arts and Crafts Building, permitting additional space for agricultural exhibits
1916 Baxter Adams performed loop-the-loops in his airplane
1917 The Girl in Red on the diving horse and State Fair had a garden in support of WWI. Another event was the return of Baxter Adams when he raced his plane against an automobile circling the track.
1920 Old timers Reunion: Pioneer men and women meet to have sixth annual gathering. This one was special because heroes of the first World War came to the reunion.
1923 State Fair Championships: Golf, Tennis, Horseshoes, Old Time Fiddlers
1924 Auto racing and State Championship baseball tournament added
1925 First Health conference held where children under 16 could be examined and lectures on infant and child feeding and care, habit formation and undernourishment
1926 New grandstand and new pioneer building built
1930 Governor dug first spade of dirt for the building of the new 4-H Club Home and a horse shoe throwing contest added
1935 to 1936 There was no Wyoming State Fair the Great Depression.
1937 All of the preparations were made for this fair, but no state fair happened because of presence of infantile paralysis (polio) in certain sections of the state during fair season. A Premium Book was printed but not used.
1940 Construction of dairy barn, sales ring and sheep barn.
1942 Governor pushes for people to come to state fair because of war. He said, in brief, People are not able to take long vacations because of shortage of rubber and the need for them to stay at work so they should come to state fair for one day because it is in their own state.
1943 to 1945 No state fair because of WWII.
1949 Another day added to State Fair: due to population increase
1951 First mention of Jackalope, 4-H and FFA judging contests
1954 FFA dorms completed
1955 The State Legislature appropriated funds to construct and equip a new building on state fairgrounds in Douglas to house the Wyoming Pioneer Memorial Museum.
1962 50th Celebration
1965 75 years of Wyoming being a state celebration where the Wyoming Pioneers were honored. The fair opened with arrival of a wagon train from Newcastle. 60 wagons and two hundred or more people left Newcastle six or seven days before the fair and followed old trails to Douglas. The Saddle Tramps rode from Cheyenne to Douglas, 1890 music played as night entertainment with famous Laubin Indian Dancers.
1968 The Arts and Crafts Building burned and was replaced by a new metal building. Also, A new building to house the wool show and an open sheep barn was added to help provide needed space at the expanding Fair.
1980 The new Grandstands were completed.
1983 Girls dorm and cafeteria completed
1987 The 75th Celebration of the Wyoming State Fair.
1990 Wyoming Centennial Celebration and the Fair started a day early for all the celebrations: Wyoming held its first bison and show and sale. It was the first of its kind and no other state had anything like it.
1992 Fair broke all attendance levels and the cafeteria was named "McKibben Cafeteria."
1993 Pioneer museum remodeled, the sheep barn got a "new look" and a free stage was added. There was a celebration of Oregon Trail sesquicentennial and the fair was shortened.
1994 New Entry to grounds completed and a bronze statue donated by Wyoming Rural Electric Association.
1995 A new roof was put on the beef/sheep complex, new sheep pens were constructed, and the boys and girls dorms were remodeled. "Strolling acts" were added to the Fair and Neal McCoy performed.
1996 Food court area expanded and remodeled adding seating and shade.
1999 "Wyoming's First" pavilion that showcased Wyoming Made Products was added
2000 Added 16 "new" events; 6.8 million dollars approved by legislature to improve fairgrounds
2006 Living Legacy Program started to restore the canopy, the Livestock Pavilion and Show Center completed
2008 Equine Center completed
2010 New statue dedicated outside Equine Center
2011 Pathway to Water Quality begins development
2012 100th Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's musical ride made its first appearance in Wyoming.