The first recorded Kitsap County Fair was held in 1923 in Port Orchard. It moved to Bremerton, in 1958. In 1929, exhibitors at the Fair totaled 1,000; today there are more than 6,000, with an annual attendance of over 80,000.
In 1960, the Chief Kitsap Stampede sold stock certificates for $1 and constructed the Thunderbird Arena. When completed, it held 12,000 spectators. In the late ‘70’s, portions of the Arena were condemned. The covered grandstands were later added. Today the Arena holds 5,000 spectators and is used year-round for various events such as the Demolition Derby, Draft Horse Show, monster trucks and more. The complex has an annual overall attendance at its various events of more than 211,000.
In January 2020, the The Kitsap Fair and Stampede Association was formed to take over the responsibility of producing the annual Kitsap Fair and Rodeo. The non-profit organization is governed by 11 appointed board members. They come with a variety of experience in business, public service and public involvement.
Unfortunately, the 2020 fair was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. In 2023, the Fair and Rodeo will celebrate the 100th Kitsap Fair. Exciting plans are already under way!
MISSION STATEMENT: To create an annual event for the community that will be financially
self-sufficient and preserve the traditions of the Fair and Stampede for future generations.