Fairplex, formerly known as the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, has been since 1922 the home of the L.A. County Fair. It is located in the city of Pomona, California. The L.A. County Fair is now held during the month of September, but the facility is used year-round to host a variety of educational, commercial, and entertainment such as trade and consumer shows, conventions, and sporting events.
Fairplex is owned by the County of Los Angeles, but is leased to and is governed by an independent, self-supporting non-profit organization, the Los Angeles County Fair Association, which manages and produces the county fair and re-invests surplus revenues generated by the fair and other events in the maintenance and development of the facility.
Having begun in 1922 with 43 acres (170,000 m2) donated by the City of Pomona, the Fairplex grounds now cover 543 acres (2.2 km2) and include nearly 325,000 square feet (30,200 m2) of indoor exhibit space. Slightly less than half of the grounds are given over to paved parking areas to accommodate 30,000 vehicles. Among other features of Fairplex are various scenic parks, plazas and picnic areas, a historic train exhibit, and 12 acres (49,000 m2) of carnival grounds. The historic train exhibit is owned and maintained by the Southern California Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, and until November 2013 was the home to one of the worlds largest steam locomotives, Union Pacific Big Boy 4014, which has been acquired by the Union Pacific Railroad and will be moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a multi-year restoration that will return 4014 to operation.
The garden railroad train exhibit is called the Fairplex Garden Railroad. It has over 80 volunteers and runs the first Sunday of every month for the general public. The FGRR gears up every year for the L.A. County Fair, its primary show. In December various members run their Christmas trains. The garden railroad uses G Scale trains.
Barretts Sales and Racing
Also on the grounds is Barretts Sales and Racing (formerly known as Fairplex Park), a horse racing facility with a 5/8 mile racetrack and a grandstand seating 10,000. Barretts provides equine training facilities, horse show facilities, and the Barretts Equine Limited horse auction complex. The facility can also be used to host music events accommodating up to 30,000 patrons. Barretts and the Los Angeles County Fair Association reached an agreement in February of 2013 for naming rights, and the race meet is referred to as the "Barretts Race Meet at Fairplex."
Fairplex is home to a dragstrip known as the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona which hosts both the opening and closing rounds of the NHRA drag racing series. Fairplex is also the location of the Wally Parks NHRA Motor Sports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California.
In addition, Fairplex is the site of the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts at Fairplex, a year-round education and exhibit space affiliated with The Smithsonian Institution. The center is located in the historic Fine Arts building, a 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) facility designed by architect Claud Beelman and erected by the WPA in 1937. In 1994 the building was renamed in honor of artist Millard Sheets, a Pomona native who was the director of the county fair's art programs from 1930 to 1956.
It is located at 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, California 91768, approximately 30 miles (48 km) east of downtown Los Angeles and 10 miles (16 km) west of Ontario International Airport, and two blocks north of the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10). The Fairplex is accessible from Fairplex Dr., White Ave. or Garey Ave. freeway exits.
- The rodeo scenes in Pee-wee's Big Adventure were shot at the Fairplex in 1985.
- Japanese internment: The Los Angeles County Fairgrounds was one of the locations used as a temporary detention camp in 1942 for Japanese and Japanese-Americans before they were relocated to more permanent facilities such as the Manzanar War Relocation Center.
- "Barretts and Fairplex Park Combine". bloodhorse.com. February 26, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
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