The Eastern Idaho State Fair was established in 1902 by a group of cattlemen who purchased some ground around Blackfoot with aspirations to run a livestock show and sale. The Fair has managed to run continuously since that time, with various groups in charge, except for two years. During the war in 1942 and 1943, the Fair Board decided to shut down the fair operation and rented the buildings to store surplus foodstuffs. However, in 1944 the fair was again part of Blackfoot.
The Fair is a tradition that is part of Blackfoot, with activities starting Labor Day weekend. Be it a family activity with the small children, a social event for teenagers, or a get-together with old friends for seniors, the Fair is the “place to be.” Food is a large part of the tradition, with Tiger Ears sold by the Boy Scouts is a perennial favorite of fair patrons. While egg rolls, turkey legs, Indian tacos, scones and famous Idaho baked potatoes also top the list. And there’s just something about the smell of frying onions that can bring on a hunger attack. Animals are also part of the attraction of the Fair. Farmers, ranchers and 4-H kids from far and near bring their animals to compete for the cash prizes offered. The size of the big draft horses takes your breath away, as does the sight of the long-horn cattle. Who can resist the soft bunnies and cuddly lambs?
The carnival, the world-class entertainment, and the stunning displays of quilts, photographs, art work and crafts contribute to the success of the Fair. Commercial exhibitors who bring every conceivable item to sell, are also an important part of the event. Exhibits by governmental agencies are also very popular with the 210,000 visitors attending the Fair each year.
The Fair employs over 500 local people during fair week, with 7 employees working year round. Like many other businesses, the Fair purchases building supplies, fencing, concrete, electrical and plumbing supplies, vehicle and machinery parts, office supplies and equipment, computers, paint, flowers and fertilizer. The Fair buys vehicles, tractors, tires and fuel, and pays taxes, telephone bills, credit card charges, insurance fees, water and sewer charges, and power and gas bills. The Fair Board is a strong believer in community service and many local service organizations help with Fair activities. We are proud to be a part of the tradition of Blackfoot.