The history of the San Mateo County Fair has a humble beginning. Originally called the ‘Little Flower Show’ in 1926, this community event was held in various schools around San Mateo County by the Burlingame Garden and Flower Club. Finally, in 1935, during a Fair revitalization period, the show was brought to its new home by the Bay Meadows Racetrack where it currently resides. While the name of the show has been changed from ‘Little Flower Show’ to ‘San Mateo County Products & Floral Fiesta’ to ‘San Mateo County Fair’, the land itself underwent renovation as well and now has 8 buildings used almost every weekend of the year by the San Mateo County Event Center.
Throughout the years, the San Mateo County Fair and it rich with tradition history has brought the family and community together through their contests. San Mateo residents can still rave about the glory days when they used to walk the Hall of Flowers in the Fiesta building or reminisce about the work they have submitted. Entertainment had a major presence at the Fair. What started off as local talent performing the ‘Rise of Don Largo’ play in 1937 has turned into having top-notch performers at the Fair. The San Mateo County Fair has been host to performers such as Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels Band, Tower of Power, Rick Springfield, the Four Tops, En Vogue, the Pointer Sisters, the Village People, Smash Mouth, Boys II Men, and so much more! The Fair also values education and brings in new, interactive exhibits every year to make learning fun and easy. When the push-button industry and the space exploration became popular, the Fair was the host of such exhibits. Over the years, the Fair has had attractions like the Animation Exhibit, Alcatraz: Life on the Rock, Super Science, Wine for Wine Making, Sea Lion Encounters, and the Rainforest Adventure to make information easily accessible to the public.
There is always something at the San Mateo County Fair for everyone. The Fair staff works feverishly year-round to plan this 9 day event by working with local businesses and organizations as well as creating partnerships within the community. It also brings the opportunity for our local residents to showcase their talents and receive acknowledgement from prestigious judges in the contests. But, it is not all about the competition. The Fair is the destination for family and friends to make memories and recall their prior adventures.
The Fair’s motto is ‘Where Tradition Meets Innovation’ and the San Mateo County Fair is excited to use what was great in the past to bring out the best for the future. By keeping the foundation of what the Fair value was built on, we continually change and grow to make it even better than before, especially with unique, modern ideas to add to the plate. Even having the annual Fair allows the community to continue the tradition of the Fair experience for generations to come. The Fair staff cannot wait to show what they have prepared for you. Come to the Fair and see what is in store!