Majestic Draft Horse performances, breath-taking competitions, and watching a Draft Horse up-close are all part of the country festivities at the annual Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair, held each September at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. Heralded as the premier Draft Horse Show in the western United States, this annual event celebrates harvest time in the California Sierra foothills.
This event was founded in 1987, with the idea of creating a horse show reminiscence of the old State Fair that featured Draft Horses. It is also an event created to honor and preserve the legacy of the Draft Horse, for it is these trusted animals that helped expand farming as the nation moved west. They became the primary power on farms – pulling farm equipment of all sizes, pulling carriages, and carrying heavy wagons loaded with produce. They are an important part of American history and they are the stars of the Draft Horse Classic.
In between the Draft Horse performances, the Harvest Fair is bustling with activity for kids and adults, and admission is free. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the barns and meet the horses, taste the delicious Treat Street goodies, or ponder the strength of the lumberjacks. With so much to see and do, there’s a little something for everyone at the Harvest Fair. Activities are ongoing at the Fairgrounds during all four days and include a Clogging Jamboree, Dutch Oven Cook-off, Lumberjack Shows, Live Horse Shoeing Competition, Produce Characters, Painted Pumpkins and prizes
Be sure to visit the barns during your visit to the Classic. The barns are open throughout the event in between performances. However, they become “back stage” during performances, and for safety purposes are closed when the horses are heading back and forth to the arena shows. Our special Breed Pavilion, open even while performances are going on in the arena, features numerous Draft Horses with their owners. The Breed Pavilion is located between the Pine Tree Stage and the Whitney Pavilion.
In addition to the equestrian performances, you'll find several exhibits that showcase life by early pioneers and modern day farmers. The History Exhibit in the Northern Mines Building provides a flashback in time through vintage photographs. Over in the lobby of the Main Street Center, the Pine Tree Quilters will have a beautiful display of quilts for viewing. An exhibit of Early Day Gas Engines on The Green, across from the Railroad Exhibit, provides a glimpse of the evolution of American farming as agriculture moved away from relying on the Draft Horses to assist in the fields. Visit the Floriculture Building to see exhibitors compete for cash awards and ribbons by showcasing their finest fruits, vegetables and crafts.