The Big Fresno Fair Museum – Past, Present and Future
The Big Fresno Fair Management has been working diligently to collect unique historical items tied to the rich history of The Big Fresno Fair and this effort still continues. In 2013, The Big Fresno Fair first revealed its Big Fresno Fair Museum. Located in O’Neill Hall, the Museum walks you through the history of The Big Fresno Fair from the oldest Blue Ribbon given in 1909 to the first-ever built Cotton Candy Machine in 1921. It features over 2,600 items related to the Fair, Valley agriculture and more – including photos by Claude C. “Pop” Laval, which each include a description helping to tell a story about that moment in the Fair’s history. The Big Fresno Fair Museum is a cross-section of history from that time period, which showcases not only the history of the Fair, but includes relics related to Fresno History to help show the uniqueness of our community.
In 2014, a documentary-style video, Heritage Talks, was added to the Museum that features stories from past Building Superintendents, Board of Directors, longtime staff members and concessionaires, plus horse racing supporters – all recalling their memories of The Big Fresno Fair and the role it played in their lives. Their testimonials and stories are what brings Heritage Talks and, in turn, the Museum to life! In 2014, The Big Fresno Fair recevied the highest award possible in the fair industry - Western Fairs Association's Merrill Award for the Museum and the Heritage Talks documentary video. The Museum also features a new section dedicated to the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes Race winner, California Chrome – a horse that not only won these races, but stole the hearts of both horse racing fans and non-fans who admired his story of perseverance. California Chrome is the only California-bred and fed horse to have ever won the first two legs of the Triple Crown and was foaled and trained right here in the San Joaquin Valley.
If you have a group interested in taking a guided tour of the Museum to see these items and more in person, then please call (559) 650-FAIR to schedule a date and time.