The Arizona State Fair

Take me out to the fair!Well, friends, it’s just about that time again – the time of year when you can purchase just about every kind of food imaginable, deep fried and served on a stick. Where you can see your favorite bands from high school, twenty years after their peak.

The Arizona Territorial Fair was first held in 1884, and morphed into the State Fair once Arizona gained statehood. The experienced some rough years during the Great Depression and World War II, but has been going strong since 1946. The fair has hosted some big name acts, and Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, and the Rolling Stones have all performed there!

While the Arizona State Planning and Building Commission went as far as to draw up plans to relocate the fair from it’s home west of 17th Avenue between McDowell and Encanto in Phoenix to Papago Park, plans were eventually scrapped and the fair remained at it’s historic location. The fairgrounds is home to some pretty impressive historical structures! Some highlights include the Gem and Mineral Building (1918), the Grandstand arena (funded by the WPA, 1936), and the Coliseum (1946).

Letterhead

Letterhead from the 1914 Arizona State Fair

FairLady

Photograph of a woman working at a booth at the Arizona State Fair, Phoenix (Ariz.)., PG 18 Dick Gilmore. 01-6188.jpg

Blueprint

The site of the current fairgrounds, located between McDowell and Encanto west of 17th Avenue, was purchased in 1905.

ProposedGrounds

In 1957, the Arizona State Planning and Building Commission proposed a massive development of Papago Park that would have moved the State Fair east.

http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/histphotos/id/29309/rec/93

Photograph/color image of facilities and events at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix (Ariz.), 04-5455.jpg

http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/histphotos/id/29311/rec/95

Photograph/color image of facilities and events at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix (Ariz.), 04-5457.jpg

http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/histphotos/id/25002/rec/20

Photograph of a rodeo clown at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix (Ariz.), 03-0268.jpg

Skater

Photograph of a boy skateboarding at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix (Ariz.), 03-0277.jpg

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