Utah State Fair: A Short Legal History
This year's Utah State Fair, coming up on September 9-19, is the 154th state fair in Utah. In fact, the first fair in 1856 was held just 9 years after the first pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. As early as 1876, in the Compiled Laws of Utah, the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society was charged with holding an annual exhibition of "all such agricultural products, stock and domestic manufactured articles as...will be best calculated to stimulate the people of this Territory in industrial pursuits." The best products and animals were awarded a prize. The State Fair was such an integral part of Utah's history that the fair's location was specified as Salt Lake City in Utah's Constitution until 1988.
Prior to 1995, the Utah State Fair was run by a government agency through the Board of Expositions. The Board was tasked with holding an annual exhibition through which awards could be made for best livestock and poultry, domestic science, domestic animals and more. In 1995, the legislature created the Utah State Fair Corporation, which is a public nonprofit. One of the reasons it was created was to prevent taxpayer money from subsidizing the fair. However, the government is still involved in state fair matters as the governor appoints board members with the consent of the Senate.
Interested in being on the Utah State Fair Corporation's Board of Directors? Apply here.
More about the fair, including information about this year's fair, can be found at the Utah State Fair's website.