In 1846, the Ohio Legislature passed an act for the encouragement of the organization of agricultural societies.The first fair under the auspices of the new organization was held at the old courthouse on October 19 and 20, 1848, but the present Muskingum County Agricultural Society numbers its fair from the passage of the legislative act in 1846. The Centennial Fair was observed from August 13 to the 17, 1946.
In 1853, the society bought fifteen acres of land for a fairgrounds on Dryden Road. This tract soon proved too small. In 1859, the society bought twenty-five acres from the heirs of Henry Matthews and twenty acres from Edward Sturges Sr. for the present fairgrounds. It is possible the fairgrounds were bought for the immediate use of the Ohio State Fair. At that time the state fair was held in different parts of the state.
During the Civil War, the present fairgrounds was leased to the Ohio Militia and named Camp Goddard, in honor of General C.B. Goddard of the Ohio Militia. This camp was a training camp for the civil war.
The Centennial Muskingum County Fair officially opened on Tuesday August 13, 1946, at 7:00 a.m., and it closed when the last light went out on Saturday night. Admission to the fair was fifty cents, admission to the grandstands was fifty cents and automobile admission was twenty-five cents.
Over the years, the Muskingum County Agricultural Society has purchased property on South Luck and Lindberg Avenues. In 1994, the society was presented with 29.22 acres as a gift from Cooper Industries. The present fairgrounds has approximately 75 acres.
In 1996, two new horse barns were built, which have 150 portable stalls.
In 1997, a new administrative building was built, which has offices and meeting rooms.
In 2005, a 500 space parking lot was built on the south-west side of the fairgrounds.
In 2006, "The Veteran's Complex" was completed in March. We razed both the Merchants and Commercial building and replaced them with the 80x120 foot building. The new building connects to the Jr. Fair building through a connector building. This connector building, have restrooms, a kitchen, storage and meeting rooms. All three building can be rented together for big events or individually for smaller events. Contact the fair office.
The Swine Show Arena was completed in August. The building is 50'x92'x14' and can seat approximately 600 people.
In 2007, a new Blacksmith Shop was constructed in August. This building replaced the old that was razed for the new Swine Show Arena.
In 2009, the campground on the hill was expanded.
In 2010, a new roof was added to the Speed Office. A new overhang was put over the Swine Arena's Make-up Area.
The Muskingum County Agricultural Society will continue improvements to make the Muskingum County Fair bigger and better each year.