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Looking Back to 1950: Fair opens to record first day crowds 

Looking Back Paso Robles

This look back at Paso Robles history comes from local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. News for this column is selected with the assistance of Research Director Jan Cannon. Newspaper photography by GiGi Green.

Excerpts from Thursday, August 24, 1950, Paso Robles Journal

County Fair opens today

Bigger, better attractions greet visitors as gates are flung open for four days of excitement and thrills

At 10 o’clock this morning the San Luis Obispo County Fair at Paso Robles opened its doors to what officials expect will be an all-time record number of visitors. There will be fun for the whole family as the men, women and children of the entire county show their skills and crafts and handiworks.

From mom’s pickles to uncle’s cow punching, from grandma’s delicate embroideries to the prize hog of some Future Farmer of America, every age and every taste is represented in the exhibits. This year’s fair is the biggest, most complete and entertaining of any in the history of the event.

For four packed days, until Sunday midnight, the fairgrounds will be the scene of rodeos, parades, dancing, band concerts, judging, auctions, pageants and many other special events, including a huge Cavalcade, the Lipham Trio, Si Otis, scout programs and horse show.

Officers and directors have been working and planning for a year to make 1950’s fair the greatest all-around show ever held in the county. Larry Lewin, secretary-manager, says that interest in the fair has been noted throughout the state, and he has advised local motels and hotels to be ready for a big influx of guests. Even homeowners, Lewin reports, are showing typical hospitality by making spare rooms available to the overflow crowds.

Mid-State Fair history

Click here to read the full front page.

The fairgrounds themselves have been greatly improved. Five new buildings to house the exhibits have been completed, with three new barns for livestock and cattle. Roads have been oiled, new fences erected and many facilities added for the comfort and convenience of visitors.

Feature of the four-day celebration will be a huge Cavalcade, employing hundreds of county residents as actors and participants in a re-creation of an early day stagecoach holdup. The Cavalcade has become a tradition at San Luis Obispo County fairs and this year’s performance, in size, actions and entertainment is reported to top them all. It may be seen at 8 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday.

Juniors and seniors will vie for hundreds of prizes in all classifications from livestock to domestic arts. 4-H Clubs and Future Farmers of America split the bulk of the junior competitions, while the seniors made up of farmers, florists, housewives, artists, hobbyists, cattlemen and specialists in many fields will fill the hundreds of booths and exhibit areas.

Three hundred eighty-eight classifications of stock as outlined in the 1950 Official Premium List, are open to competition and awards and many last-minute entries have had to be refused.

A colorful Gayway will provide games, entertainment and refreshments for the entire family. Dinners and lunches are available here, although those who wish may bring picnic lunches and enjoy them in specially designed areas on the grounds.

Business and manufacturing industries of San Luis Obispo County also have an opportunity to show their work. From glass blowers to agricultural mechanics the business and professional people of the county will be represented in feature exhibits. Newspapers, radio stations, civic organizations and all other groups are supporting 1950’s fair as the greatest cross-section view of life and work in San Luis Obispo County ever conceived. Here, the point out, no matter what your interests, is the place to see the work and creative activities of your neighbors, the ideal place for renewing old friendships and making new ones.

Click here to read the full back page.

Read previous Looking Back articles

Thank you to sponsors of Looking Back

Paso Robles Pioneer Museum – Come take a real look back into local Paso Robles history. Open Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 2010 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, CA 93446, (805) 239-4556.

Estrella Warbird Museum is an aviation museum dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia. Woodland Auto Display is also open. Hours: Thursday through Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. 4251 Dry Creek Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446,, (805) 227-0440.

Creative Concrete & Design delivers the highest level of professional concrete work. Operating in San Luis Obispo County since 2002, Karl Rush brings 35 years of concrete experience to every job and will ensure that you receive the very best quality work. Over the years they have completed a great many works on residential homes. They are very creative and willing to explore options for your next project. Concrete projects have many factors to consider to bring your vision to life., (805) 896-1384.

Golden Anchor Financial Services is committed to helping you find the right mortgage product for your needs. They understand that every borrower is different, and offer a variety of products to meet individual requirements. They make the process of securing a mortgage simple and straightforward by offering you the latest in financial tools that enable you to make sound financial choices. Call them at (805) 473-7733 on the Central Coast or (559) 473-7733 in the Central Valley.

1800 El Pomar is the site of a historic Templeton ranch located just three miles east of town. The property features an iconic, aged redwood barn, 3-story tank house, original farmhouse with an outdoor garden, original water tank structures, and many other original ranch buildings. Set on 20+ acres of vineyards, the 360-degree views of rolling oak-studded hills and surrounding vines are a photographer’s dream. A prime ceremony location exists in the vineyards behind the barn between two beautiful oaks. The northwest-facing location creates plenty of shade for your guests in an early to late afternoon setting. A perfect venue with plenty of open space to customize your wedding or event.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.