The first meeting of the St. Lucie County Fair Association, Inc. was held on July 23, 1964 at 8:00 PM. Mr. W.G. Padrick, Jr. Chairman of the organizational committee presented the certified copy of the charter dated June 16, 1964.
In January of 1965 the Association voted to hold the first fair in February of 1966, working with the Sandy Shoes Committee and the Cattlemen’s Parade the first fair dates were determined to be February 25 through March 6, 1966. Deggeller Attractions was the first Midway operator.
The first Gingham Girl was Dru Hilson; Dru was a senior in high school at the time. The Gingham Girls wore their gingham outfits every day at the fair. The Gingham Girl tradition carried on until 1985, when Patricia Hardman was elected Fair Queen. From then till present the Fair Queen dress in everyday attire.
Throughout the next 2 decades additional buildings were built and 20 acres of additional parking was acquired. The fair and St. Lucie County have enjoyed many fairs on the property adjacent to the St. Lucie County Airport. They have grown right along with the county and definitely have out grown the current location. In October of 1999 the Fair purchased 250 acres at the intersection of Midway Road and Okeechobee Road.
Construction began at the new location in 2002. The 2002 Annual Fair was the last to be held at the Airport site. The 2003 fair at the new location took place in a rather hurried fashion, but was just about flawless. Revenues for gate attendance was just shy of doubling. Phase one buildings include 3 air conditioned exhibit halls, a small livestock show arena, a concession picnic pavilion and 4 livestock buildings. Phase 2 includes a small animal/”agtivity exhibit hall and a 200×300 multi purpose arena. The new fairgrounds is large enough to carry on multi events at one time. Upon completion it will be the second largest fairgrounds in the state of Florida.
The St. Lucie County Fair has always been extremely proud of the youth exhibits each year at the fair. The market steer and swine auctions have received state recognition. The record held for top price for steers is owned by Ryan Holley at 10.50 per lb. in 2004. Evan Miller (2005) owns the record held for top price on the swine at 46.00 per lb. Youth exhibits include sewing, food, knitting, Quilting, wood working, small animals, large animals and a multitude of educational projects.
The community asked for a better fairgrounds and the community is helping to build this fantastic facility. The County of St. Lucie, the Community and the St. Lucie County Fair Association have made a commitment to build a top notch facility that everyone will be proud of.
Requests from the community to help came in right from the start. Tommy Hawkins of Hawkins and Son’s paving gathered site preparation businesses to help with the clearing. With help from the County the infrastructure was under way.
We were first approached by members of the Sunrise Kiwanis Club of Ft. Pierce. Teaming up with the Downtown Club came the sponsorship of the Educational building. This building will house the St. Lucie County School exhibits during the fair and serve as an exhibit hall in the off season.
Peter W. Busch of the Peter W. Busch Family Foundation then added a sponsorship of one of the horse barns.
Individuals and businesses have sponsored benches, picnic tables, banners and anything needed to help with the growth of the grounds.
And of course the 49th annual fair will begin February 28 and run through March 9, 2014