The first agriculture exhibit in Buffalo County was not held in a barn. Nor was it held in a Quonset. The very foundation of what we know today to be the Buffalo County Fair began in a Downtown Kearney furniture store in 1875. Five years later, the Buffalo County Agriculture Society was formed. In 1880 the 1st Annual Buffalo County Fair was held in Shelton, approximately twenty miles east and north of Kearney. Four years later, the Buffalo County Agriculture Society decided by a strong majority to move the fair to Kearney. The ground that the Buffalo County Fairgrounds is still on today is the same ground that was purchased back in 1884.
The 4th Annual Buffalo County Fair held at its new site in Kearney had over 3,000 attendees. The Buffalo County Fair has only moved once for a few years since the 4th Annual Buffalo County Fair when a new site was purchased in the late 1880’s. However, in 1893, the Buffalo County Agriculture Society discontinued due to financial problems and in 1913 a new organization, the Buffalo County Agriculture Association, was formed to take over responsibility of the Buffalo County Fairgrounds and moved the fair back to its former location. The Buffalo County Agriculture Association still oversees the fairgrounds’ operations today.
Some of the buildings still standing at Buffalo County Fairgrounds have been around since close to the beginning. These buildings include the Pole Barn, the Stafford Arena, and the Small Animal Buildings. The Buffalo County Fairgrounds has also grown greatly since the beginning. In 1983 the Exhibit Building was built. This building was originally designed to stall cattle but now has a tennis court floor and is used for many purposes including sports, weddings, conferences, banquets, trade shows, etc. The Exhibit Building also contains the fair offices. The original Exposition Building was built in 1990 and the Ag Pavilion was added ten years later.
Sadly, the original Exposition Building was destroyed in the tornado that went through Kearney in the summer of 2008. After the destruction, the Fairboard decided that while construction was already to be done, the Ag Pavilion that was previously only enclosed by chain link fence on two sides would be completely enclosed. The new Exposition Building was completed in November 2010 complete with up-to-date amenities the previous building lacked. We are blessed to have such a wonderful facility on our grounds!
In 1984, the 51 acres of land that the Buffalo County Fairgrounds sits on was completely surrounded by farm ground and open land. However, Kearney has grown greatly over the last couple decades and the Buffalo County Fairgrounds is now located near a large residential area, Sunrise Middle School, and some still existing farm ground, on the corner of 36th Street and Avenue N.
Buffalo County Fair Performers
The Buffalo County Fair has a reputation of bringing the hottest entertainers to our great county. Anyone ever heard of Toby Keith? How about George Strait? We are extremely proud of the elite line up we have offered in genres ranging from country to pop to rock and everything in between! Some of these entertainers include:
|Confederate Railroad||Dierks Bentley||Faith Hill|
|Cheap Trick||REO Speedwagon||Rick Trevino|
|Rodney Atkins||Ty England||Sawyer Brown|
|Clay Walker||Whiplash, the Cowboy Monkey||Kathy Mattea|
|Tracy Bird||Weird Al Yankovic & His Bad Hair Band||Leroy Van Dyke|
|Blessed Union of Souls||George Jones||Martina McBride|
|Collin Raye||Lisa Brokop||Kansas|
|Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band||Ronnie McDowell||Sons of the Desert|
|The Oak Ridge Boys||Billy Dean||Diamond Rio|
|The Bellamy Brothers||Tim Holcomb||Bill Engvall|
|Mark Chesnutt||Daryle Singletary||Ballie and the Boys|
|Pam Tillis||James House||Bill Anderson|
|Chris LeDoux||Christina Aguilera||Jeff Foxworthy|
|Gibson/Miller Band||Toby Keith||Raven Symone|
|Patty Loveless||George Strait||Ashton Jackson|
|Nitty Gritty Dirt Band||The Marshall Tucker Band||Craig Morgan|
|Lorrie Morgan||The Kentucky Headhunters||Gary Allan|
|Thompson Square||My Darkest Days||Morgan Frazier|
|Jake Owen||Kip Moore||Alabama|
|Newsboys||Hawk Nelson||Francesca Battistelli|
|Little Big Town||Dan+Shay||Red Wanting Blue|