The Arizona Territorial Fair Commission, the predecessor of the Arizona Exposition and State Fair Board, was authorized in 1905. Statutory authority for the Board is found at A.R.S. §§3-1001 et seq.FunctionThe Board manages the 96-acre state fairgrounds and Memorial Coliseum property, located at 19th Avenue and McDowell in Phoenix and conducts the annual Arizona State Fair. It also leases the Coliseum facilities and fairgrounds for special events, including the Arizona National Livestock Show, the Maricopa County Fair, trade shows, home and garden shows, merchandise sales and outdoor recreation shows.
The Department of Emergency Management has identified the fairgrounds as a location that may be called upon to provide emergency services in cases of disaster or terrorism. In 2005, the Coliseum sheltered 2,500 evacuees from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
The Arizona Territorial Fair Commission was initially established in 1905 and authorized to procure a site suitable for a state fairgrounds in order to exhibit agricultural, horticultural, livestock and mining exhibits. The site was also to include a grandstand, stables with at least 50 box stalls and a racetrack one mile in circumference. Three commissioners were appointed by the Governor to two-year terms. The measure provided for an annual appropriation of $7,500. See Laws 1905, Chapter 64. In 1907, the annual appropriation was increased to $15,000. See Laws 1907, Chapter 86.Laws 1909, Chapter 93 authorized the Board of Control of the Territory to purchase a specific site at a price not to exceed $30,000. The measure included the legal description of the property.
In 1922 the State Financial Code was adopted, providing that state agency expenses would be paid from the State General Fund as authorized by a general appropriations bill adopted by the Legislature. Appropriated monies that were unexpended at the end of the fiscal year would revert to the State General Fund. See Laws 1922, Chapter 35, Section 70.Laws 1935, Chapter 73 increased the number of members on the State Fair Commission to five and increased the length of the term to five years. In addition, the Commission was authorized to contract with the federal government to obtain funding for public works and improvements at the state fairgrounds. The measure also modified the penalty for violating conflict of interest provisions by establishing a fine of $1,000 and nine months in a county jail. Prior to the 1935 amendment, the penalty was one year in state prison. The penalty has been modified several times and is currently a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Laws 1941, Chapter 60 increased the number of commissioners to seven and provided for three-year terms. The measure also allowed the Commission to: hire a secretary to handle financial transactions; hire other employees; lease the fairgrounds for rodeos, civic exhibitions, fireworks displays and other purposes; and provided that balances in the State Fair Fund at the end of the fiscal year would not revert to the State General Fund.Laws 1953, Chapter 91 authorized establishment of a revolving fund of up to $15,000 for activities requiring immediate cash outlay for use ten days prior to opening and ten days following the state fair.Laws 1963, Chapter 61 provided the Commission the power to issue revenue bonds to construct, furnish and equip exhibition halls, auditoriums and coliseums. The measure outlined how bonds would be issued, sold, secured and repaid.
Laws 1965, Chapter 45 required the Commission to name the auditorium or coliseum, then under construction, in honor of Arizona war veterans.In 1967 the Arizona Coliseum and Exposition Center Board was established, replacing the Commission. The Board consisted of five members with specific qualifications, appointed by the Governor to terms of five years. Monthly financial reports and minutes of regular and special meetings were required to be submitted to the Governor and Joint Legislative Budget Committee. The measure authorized employment of an executive director, coliseum manger and comptroller and prescribed their qualifications and duties. All real and personal property, including unexpended and unencumbered funds were transferred from the Commission the Board. In addition the measure noted that all contracts and bonds executed or issued by the State Fair Commission would continue and were binding upon the newly created Board. References to horse, harness and dog racing were deleted.
Laws 1967, Chapter 21 contained an emergency clause and became effective upon signature of the Governor on March 3, 1967.Laws 1971, Chapter 125 required the state to provide a blanket bond in the amount of $100,000 for each state officer and employee, eliminating the requirement for each Board member and Board employee to obtain a surety bond in the amount of $25,000.
In 1991, legislation increased the Arizona Exposition and State Fair Board Permanent Revolving Fund cap to $20,000 except for the months of October and November when the maximum was set at $50,000 for use during the annual state fair. The measure also decreased the percentage of racing revenue allocated to the Arizona Coliseum and Exposition Center Fund. See Laws 1991, Chapter 254.
In 1997, the name of the Arizona Coliseum and Exposition Center Board was changed to the Arizona Exposition and State Fair Board. See Laws 1997, Chapter 18. Another bill enacted in 1997 transferred the Arizona Coliseum and Exposition Center Fund from non-appropriated status to appropriated status. The measure also converted 14 other state funds to appropriated status. Conversion of these funds occurred due to legislation adopted in 1994 that required the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to recommend conversion of a certain percentage of non-appropriated funds to appropriated status. See Laws 1994, Chapter 366.Laws 2013, First Special Session, Chapter 2 increased the revolving fund cap to $60,000 for the months of December through September and established a cap of $400,000 for October and November.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§3-1001 et seq.
- Revised Statutes of Arizona 1913 Civil Code, §§4535 to 4542
- Session Laws
- Laws 1905, Chapter 64
- Laws 1907, Chapter 86
- Laws 1909, Chapter 93
- Laws 1922, Chapter 35
- Laws 1935, Chapter 73
- Laws 1941, Chapter 60
- Laws 1953, Chapter 91
- Laws 1963, Chapter 61
- Laws 1965, Chapter 45
- Laws 1967, Chapter 21
- Laws 1971, Chapter 125
- Laws 1991, Chapter 254
- Laws 1997, Chapters 18 and 210
- Laws 2013, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2
- Master List of State Programs: 2014-2016.
- Arizona Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting. www.ospb.state.az.us
- Final report of the sunset review of the Arizona Exposition and State Fair Board, December 19, 2006. Arizona Memory Project: Arizona State Government Publications. http://www.azmemory.azlibrary.gov
- Arizona Exposition and State Fair website: www.arizonaexposition.com
Related collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 6: Secretary of the Territory
- Record Group 194: Arizona Coliseum and Exposition Center
- Manuscript Group 119: Arizona Territorial Documents