the “Okaloosa Industrial Fair” made its debut
over 45 years ago on Okaloosa Island, few realized that an important
and continuing community tradition had begun. Originally the
Fort Walton Beach Shrine Club, it became known as the “Fort
Walton Beach Shrine Fair” in 1967, securing it’s
501-C-3 not for profit certification. In 1971 the Fair moved
away from Okaloosa Island. With help from Congressman Bob
Sikes, and then secretary of the Air Force Lewis Turner, 42
acres were acquired at the event’s present site. This
allowed the Fair to have the space necessary to grow and improve
through the years.
the inception in 1974 of Chapter 616 (a state law designed
to ensure the quality and safety of all fairs across the state),
the fair became chartered under the state of Florida, Department
of Agriculture. The event began to attract larger crowds and
well known performing artists. In recent years the fairgrounds
have become a location for a variety of other events, including
everything from dog shows and fishing shows to science fairs
and military appreciation day.
the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds has 45,000 square feet of
rentable space, 36,000 square feet of controlled exhibit/meeting
space, and banquet space for 1,500 attendees.