Administered by the State of California's 37th District Agricultural Association, Santa Maria Fairpark’s rich history stretches from the first “Santa Maria Valley Fair” in 1891 to the present-day multi-purpose facilities. As the premier event center in the Santa Maria Valley, these facilities are the site of choice for a multitude of public and private events, highlighted each year by the Santa Barbara County Fair.
A Rich History…
The 37th District Agricultural Association was first formed in March 1891, with the approval of both houses of the California Legislature. The 37th District includes all of Santa Barbara County that lies west of Gaviota and north of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The Association is a sub-division of the Division of Fairs and Expositions, a branch of the Department of Food and Agriculture.
The Association’s mission is to showcase our community’s interests and talents, and offer opportunities for participation, education, and enjoyment by providing well-managed, multi-purpose, year-round facilities which promote agriculture, aerospace, industry, commerce and tourism.
The First Annual “Santa Maria Valley Fair” was held in September of 1891. By 1920, the fairgrounds were located at the 700 block of East Main Street and were officially named the “Santa Barbara County Fair”. The fairgrounds moved to Hancock Field adjoining Miller Street and remained there until after World War II, then moved to the present location at Stowell Road and Thornburg Street. In 2000, in an effort to create a new image, the facility was renamed Santa Maria Fairpark, “Home of the Santa Barbara County Fair.”
The facility serves as the hub of the Central Coast’s major events and community activities. Association sponsored events include the Annual Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival, attended by nearly 70,000 people and the Santa Barbara County Fair attended by over 150,000 people. In addition, thousands of visitors visit hosted events like trade shows, conventions, rallies, Hispanic dances and concerts, company parties, equestrian shows, wedding receptions and birthday celebrations.
The Association has a $2.5 Million annual operating budget. Funds are self generated through events and rentals of the facilities and grounds. The Santa Maria Fairpark is a state owned facility and is not supported by state or county taxes.
The 37th DAA has an obligation to support its communities by improving the quality of the Fair and the facilities and to create important venues for education, recreation, and entertainment. It is further responsible for providing a showcase for community pride and spirit to be enjoyed by all.
The Association actively promotes our area’s interests and has a long tradition of bringing our communities together to celebrate diversity. It further encourages healthy competition, generates enthusiasm, highlights special talents, recognizes achievements, honors outstanding contributions, enhances partnerships, promotes volunteerism, produces excitement, showcases unique interests and produces a wealth of healthy family activities and entertainment.
The policy-making body for the Association consists of nine Board Members who are appointed by the governor to serve four-year terms. The Board jointly establishes policies, then empowers the Chief Executive Officer and his professional staff to implement their decisions.