The Wailua Fairgrounds and Race Track

In July 1938, a park equipped with a horse race track, judges’ stand, baseball field and volleyball courts was opened in Wailua just north of the site of the original Lihue Airport, which had been in operation since 1934 and would cease operating in 1950, and what would become, during World War II, Marine Camp, which the county would purchase in 1946 for $10,000.

Then in November 1947, the 13th annual Kauai County Fair, sponsored by the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, was held at a newly built fairgrounds situated within the park, with water tanks, a water distribution system, sewers, electric lights, good roads and other installations left intact by the Marines utilized in its development.

The Wailua Fairgrounds was also more spacious than the Lihue Armory, where previous Kauai County fairs had taken place and where the State Building now stands.

Kauai County fairs continued to be held intermittently at the Wailua Fairgrounds through 1952, the year of the 16th and final Kauai County Fair.

In 1953, a new fair, the Kauai Farmers Fair, spearheaded by Kauai farmers and not sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, was held in Lihue instead.

It was followed in 1954 by the first annual Kauai Farm Show, sponsored by university extension groups — the last fair held at the Wailua Fairgrounds.

A year later, in 1955, the Kauai Board of Supervisors began discussing plans to add nine holes to the 9-hole Wailua Golf Course, which would extend the course southward into the Wailua Fairgrounds race track.

Thereafter, motor cycle and horse riding enthusiasts made use of the fairgrounds, until 1962, when the Wailua Golf Course finally opened with 18 holes, and fairways and greens replaced the Wailua Fairgrounds and Race Track.

Today, the Wailua Golf Course still occupies land once used as the Wailua Fairgrounds and Race Track; the Wailua Motocross Track is situated within the former Marine Camp; and a portion of the Kauai Beach Resort rests on land adjacent to the original Lihue Airport.

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