Our Putnam County Fair history is important
The first Putnam County Fair was held in downtown Palatka in 1950. A group of local business people, the County Extension Agent and other local farmers and ranchers wanted to showcase their crops and animals and educate the people of the county about agriculture and its importance. This tradition continues today.
Each year the Putnam County Fair is held at the end of March. During the nine day event many different activities take place. It is the mission of the volunteer board, appointed by the County Commissioners, to provide a family friendly environment of fun while offering varying enrichment opportunities.
A vast array of booths, displays, competitions, and information abound. Learning opportunities include such things as: Master Gardner’s, Bee Keepers, Historical & Educational Agricultural Village, IFAS information, Health related info, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) projects.
Competitions are available to young and old. Our events include: Fine Arts Show, Home Division Competition, Bakery Contest, Horticulture Show, Beauty Pageant, Hay Bale decorating, Livestock Shows (Swine, Heifer, Steer, Rabbit, Poultry, and Goats).
These competitions are fun and are a great time to share talents between family members and with the community. Participants have the opportunity to win ribbons, trophies and prize money (which leads to Bragging Rights for the next year).
The Putnam County Fair Authority Board of Directors makes every effort to provide quality entertainment. A mix of professional and local talents is used. This Board feels an obligation to give to the citizens of the county shows and acts that many of them would never otherwise be able to see. As people enjoy their time at the Fair, visiting with their friends, making new ones, spending quality time with their families and learning more about their county and the people in it, they are able to do so at an affordable price.
More than 30,000 people attend the Putnam County Fair annually. Advertising is done on a local basis. New and better techniques have been designed over the last several years to reach out to out-of-town visitors. It appears that our guest numbers from other areas is growing. The midway ride and attraction company begins arriving in town several weeks early to prepare for the set up. While in town, these employees frequent our local restaurants, retail stores, grocery stores and, on a daily basis, the gas and diesel companies. Some of the Entertainers and vendors stay in local hotels. It is the goal of the Fair Authority to work with and to compliment as may local businesses as possible.
The Putnam County Fair is a very important part of this community. We are largely volunteer based and the success of this event is dependent on all of our community partners!
2007 - New Ticket Booth constructed on the South side of the Fairgrounds at the Main Parking area; Also, the area formerly known as "the drive-in theater" was cleared for additional parking.2023
2008 - Two days were added to the Fair, extending it from seven to nine days
2009 - Ag Village added to Fair; New large gate added to the Fairgrounds entrance; New digital billboard and signs added on the Highway.
2010 - The Midway walkways are paved; Much improvement done in the parking area to enhance drainage
2014 - a 70' x 70' Entertainment Pavilion is constructed
- Youth Advisory Committee is organized
2015 - The former Rawson building renovation was completed in December and is now the Fairgrounds Expo Hall, a multipurpose building that is available for use year-round;
-Water & Sewer upgrades are made bringing the County water to the Fairgrounds.
-Whip Cracking Contest is added to the Fair Competitions, organized and run by the Youth Advisory Committee
2016 - WiFi infrastructure is added to the grounds;
-Many of the Fair contests and exhibits are now open the St. Johns County residents
2017 - added a 4-H Dog Agility & Obedience competition to the Fair
2018 - The entrance road from Old San Mateo Rd. all the way to the Midway gate is paved
2019 - The former Sipprell Livestock Building was replaced by a new, larger, 75' x 135', open air, pavilion complete with concrete floors, efficient LED lighting; New modular livestock pens are purchased
2020 - Fair Cancelled due to Covid-19 Quarantine
2021 - Fair Resumes
- Added American Heifer Show
2022 - Upgraded to Digital Ticketing System, Paved walkways courtesy of FL Trucking & Paving into Maltby Bldg, Kitchen, Poultry Barn and Tilton Arena, added a Rodeo Event
-New Electrical services and county water added to Livestock and Vendor campsites. Upgraded Kitchen and Bathrooms in Expo Hall, Rest/Play area for little ones and their parents, Seating area for enjoying fair food, Self-watering Swine stalls donated by the DeLoach Family, Added Best Carcass Award, Added Best Decorated Egg Contest