HistoryIn 1925, funds were solicited for the purchase of the old race track property. A hearty response was received by those soliciting funds for the purchase of the fairgrounds, which resulted in its acquisition. Public subscription contributed $12,000 to the purchase of the property which was later deeded to the county.
Contingent upon the county making a levy for construction of adequate grandstand and exhibit buildings, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted $20,000 by direct levy over a period of two years.
The first fair in Siskiyou County was held in 1859 in Fort Jones on October 5th and 6th. I.E. Harris was President of the Siskiyou County Agricultural Association, which sponsored the event.
Fairs were then held in Fort Jones each year until 1867 when through the efforts of Judge E. Steele, who was president of the Siskiyou County Agricultural Society during 1866, the fair was transferred to Yreka. William Irwin, who later became governor of California during the 1880s, was the president of the Agricultural Society for the first fair in Yreka.
The newly appointed directors of the 10th District Agricultural Association held their first meeting on May 23, 1927, immediately laying plans for the construction of new buildings and opening of its first fair in September. The contractor bids that came were “out of line” and all were rejected. It would be another year before the association went to bid again and the new grandstand was completed in time for the fair that opened on September 18, 1928 and ran for three days.
The fair continued in operation until the Depression and was suspended for some time until it resumed operation in 1938 with W. L. Kleaver at the helm as manager. There have only been seven managers to follow in Kleaver’s footsteps including Steward Waite (June 1946 – March 1948), Ed Mathews (March 1948 – March 1963), Jim Jones (March 1963 – December 1969), William Whitaker (January 1970 – March 1974), Ron Lillard (April 1974 – December 1999), Rebecca Weathers Desmond (January 2000 – March 2010), and Cliff Munson (June 2010 - Present).
Fairs were revived in Yreka under the sponsorship of the Siskiyou County Pomona Grange in 1919. William L. Kleaver was appointed President-Manager of the earlier fairs. The amusements for the fairs were held in the city park of Yreka. The exhibits and booth displays were held in the Agricultural Hall. The livestock exhibits were held in Harmon’s Livery Stable.