The Cleveland County Free Fair has been going strong for over a century. For nearly four decades, the fair existed without an actual fairgrounds with the fair being held between Carey Lumber and the old feed store on Comanche Avenue in Norman for many years.
One year, a large wind storm swept through the fair and picked up a large tent containing livestock and fairgoers. The storm flattened the tent, but fortunately there were no injuries. Following that event, the community rallied together for more adequate facilities.
The following year, a Fair Board was established with three members: Walter Williamson, Ken Poynor and Herb Mackey, and the county commissioners called for a vote to purchase 15 acres to establish the Cleveland County Fairgrounds. This site at 615 E. Robinson Street has been home to the fair ever since.
As the fair has grown, so have the facilities at the fairgrounds. The first fair building was built with a kitchen for fair meals. Since then the fairgrounds have grown to include a full arena with concession area, an exhibit hall and auditorium, a tractor pull arena and many other amenities. In 2018, an extension to the arena was completed to house additional livestock and poultry for the fair.The fair has not grown without help. The Cleveland County Free Fair has had many wonderful people through the years who have devoted long hours, sweat and hard work to make this one of Oklahoma’s largest county fairs. The fair has also grown with great food vendors, exhibitors, demonstrations and entertainment.
A lot has changed in Cleveland County since the 12,000 member community decided to build the fair a permanent home. We now have over 250,000 who call Cleveland County home with multiple municipalities including Norman, Moore, Oklahoma City, Lexington and Noble. One thing that has never changed though is the welcoming spirit and energy of the fair. It is an experience you will never forget.