2018 Elko County Fair
August 24th – September 3rd
General admission: $7/day Reserved seating: $8/day
FUN AT THE FAIR
The Elko County Fair has been mixing families and fun for 98 years! We have entertainment and events for everybody in the family – crafts and critters, the carnival and fair food, horse racing, live music, the stockhorse show, and MORE! New this year – the Country Showdown, America’s oldest and biggest talent search for hot new country musicians! Send out the summer with a big, winning smile – Labor Day Weekend at the Elko County Fair!
The Elko County Fair is an annual event put on by a group of dedicated volunteers, hard-working competitors and generous businesses and individuals who sponsor the event. It’s managed by a citizen board of directors appointed by the Elko County Commissioners. The Board is responsible for the event itself, as well as for year-round operations of the historic 40-acre Fairgrounds where the Fair is held. The Board is supported by two year-round staff people, as well as temporary staff brought on for the month of the Fair. The Fair itself draws approximately 20,000 people annually; other events held at the Fairgrounds draw another 20,000 people over the course of the year.
VOLUNTEERING AT THE FAIR
Several local non-profit organizations and student groups raise money by volunteering at the Fair, including the Elko Police Officers Protective Association, Elko County Sheriffs Cadet Program, POW/MIA, Elko County 4-H, the Elko High School Choraliers, the Elko High School Future Business Leaders of America, the Northern Nevada Autism Network, Animal House Rescue, and the Elko High School Track Team.
Dozens of individuals give of their time to volunteer, as well – some of them for more than two decades. We have a variety of volunteer opportunities for people interested in giving their time to the Fair, and would love to talk with you about joining us.
If you’d like to volunteer, call the Fair office at 775-738-3616. We’d love to have you!
HISTORY OF THE FAIR
The Elko County Agricultural District #4 was established by the Nevada Legislature early in the 20th century, and the first Elko County Fair was held September 16-18, 1920. The goal of the Fair and of the agricultural district was to promote agriculture and the local economy by production of an annual fair or exposition highlighting local products and industries.
For the first seven years of the Fair, the Fair Board struggled to find a permanent site for the event, hosting the Fair at the Garcia Rodeo Grounds on the east edge of Elko and (once) in Wells. The Fair was cancelled twice during that time, once due to an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease, and once to save money for the construction of permanent facilities. That conservatism paid off, as the City of Elko acquired part of the old China Ranch in 1927, and the first Fair was held later that year at its current site. The Fair Board invested $34,000 in 1927 and 1928 to develop the facility – approximately $450,000 in today’s money – and has continued to expand the facility and produce the Fair every year in the nearly 100 years since.
These days, the Fair Board works to balance the historical nature of the event with the growing and changing population of Elko County. The Fair remains, at its core, an agricultural celebration, but now features a wide variety of attractions for modern families. The Fair will celebrate its centennial year in 2020.
Thanks to historian Jan Petersen for researching the history of the Fair.