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Race Dates
8/25 - 9/4


  Which Humboldt Is This!     

Ferndale FairHumboldt Fair Logo

Racing at the Humboldt County Fair traces back to it's origin in 1896, but it didn't start pari-mutuel betting until 1935. The Humboldt County Fair is located in Ferndale, a small Victorian styled town, on the Northern California Coast. Probably the smallest and definitely  the most northern, it is 200 miles from it's nearest counterpart in Santa Rosa.

Ferndale FairLast Call for Wagering

The fairgrounds at Ferndale features an open air grandstand that seats 1,800 with around 450 stalls during racing season. Unlike it's southern cousins thoroughbreds take a back stage to quarter horses and mixed breeds. About half the horses that run here ship south from the Oregon Fair Circuit. In recent years citing the lack of horses on the west coast, the racing season at Ferndale has been cut back to six days, from it's traditional eight.

Ferndale FairCape Mendocino Lighthouse

When you go to the main entrance at the Humboldt County Fair, you purchase your ticket at a unique structure that appears to be a replica of a lighthouse. It is in fact a replica of the Cape Mendocino light house that was in use in Humboldt County until the mid forties, but the real story was the lens.

The original Fresnel lens that was fashioned in Paris around 1868 was replaced after World War II. In 1949 the old mineral oil burning lens was moved to the replica building at the entrance to the fairgrounds. During the fair the lighthouse would come to life and flash again, beckoning fair goers to it's flame, but the flame would not last.

In 2008, The Coast Guard, inspected the lens and decided it was deteriorating and decided to retake possession of it, to save it. Not setting well with the people of Ferndale, they established a "save our lens" group, at one point a local artist Jack Mays, actually chained himself to the structure at the fairgrounds in protest. The story has a somewhat happy ending, Ferndale can keep it's lens but it had to be removed from the fairgrounds lighthouse and placed in more appropriate storage facility. Guess these days you need to find the fairgrounds in the dark, watch out for rocks!