Location: 3000 Ringling Blvd.
County was formed in 1921, a year that coincided with the developing
Florida Land Boom. Community leaders decided to call attention
to the advantages of visiting and living in Sarasota by establishing
a county fair and bringing a major league baseball team to town
for spring training. Calvin and Martha Payne provided 60 acres
of land "for fairground and other park purposes" at
the low price of $18,000. In response to a call by Major E.
J. Bacon for a community work day, citizens constructed a fair
building and baseball field at the new Payne Park in the fall
by the Sarasota County Chamber of Commerce, the Sarasota County
Fair Association was formed on March 30, 1923. The first Sarasota
County Fair opened on January 22, 1924 at the new fairground.
Extensive exhibits, a rodeo show, airplane stunts, horse races,
parades and competitions attracted fair-goers. After the second
fair at Payne Park, the area was deemed too small a space for
a fair. The land was sold as residential lots and the income
was used to purchase property on what is now North Beneva Rd
at 12th St.