Greater Baton Rouge State Fair
For more information, please see our FAQS page.
How the Fair Began
The Greater Baton Rouge State Fair began in 1965 when two existing Baton Rouge Jaycee Projects – a Trade Show and a Carnival – were combined. The first fair was held on the Bon Marche parking lot. From there it moved to the old Downtown Airport (now the site of Independence Park), then to the vacant land at the corner of Airline Highway and Florida Boulevard (now Cortana Mall). The current fair location, the 100-acre fairgrounds on Airline Highway, was purchased in 1972 and the first fair on the property was held in 1973. Used for one month of the year to hold the fair, this property is now part of the 150-acre BREC Airline Highway Park/Fairgrounds. The fair was the main fundraising project and for many years was the number one fundraiser in the national Jaycee organization.
Under New Management Since 1985
Ownership of The Greater Baton Rouge State Fair changed in 1985 when the Baton Rouge Jaycee organization decided they could not continue in the fair business. Former Jaycees who had been heavily involved in past fairs began meeting to discuss the future of the fair.
The new group’s first fair was held in 1985 with the Bill Hames Midway providing the rides and games. Unfortunately Hurricane Juan repeatedly visited the Baton Rouge area and as a result the fair was in dire financial difficulty.
In 1986, the fairgrounds property transferred to the Baton Rouge Recreation and Parks Commission (BREC). The agreement allowed GBRSF to rent the property each year to produce the fair. This has proven to be a great partnership that benefits the community in many ways. J. H. Martin, who was the first Fair Chairman in 1965, took over as chairman.
In 2005, weather once again played an important part in our fair’s history. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita visited south Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, virtually demolishing everything south of I-10 from Texas all the way east to the Alabama/Florida border. FEMA requested the use of the fairgrounds as a staging area for their equipment used in relief areas. The 2005 fair was cancelled and our thoughts and efforts went to helping our neighbors through tough times.
In 2010, the fair celebrated 25 years with the Fair Foundation. J. H. Martin retired as fair chairman and Cliff Barton was elected chairman of the fair.
Since 1985 the dedicated volunteers of the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair have proved that, with reasonable weather and proper management the fair will continue to be a successful and viable event for the community.
How the Fair Supports the Community
The proceeds from the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair (GBRSF) are donated to the Baton Rouge State Fair Foundation. Over $4,000,000 has been donated since 1985.
Each year, an outstanding volunteer student in participating high schools in East Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes is awarded a $500 scholarship. The scholarships are presented to high school juniors.
The GBRSF is always excited to host Buster L. Brown Day at the fair (for children with special needs). Approximately 1,000 of these children are invited on a day when the fair is opened just for them.
The Youth Livestock Shows give area 4-H and FFA members another opportunity to show their goats, beef and dairy cows and compete for ribbons and up to $5,000 in prize money.
The fair also provides a financial boost to the community with more than $250,000 spent locally each year in the production of the fair. The GBRSF is a major small business effort and it is all done with volunteers.
As an opportunity for youth and families to enjoy wholesome family entertainment, the fair is an exceptional value.
- Monday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
- Tuesday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
- Wednesday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
- Thursday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
- Friday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
- Saturday 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
- Sunday 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM