Brief History of the National Orange Show
(Photographs provided by the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society)
(The First National Orange Show, 4th & E Streets, 1911)
In 1910, the first National Orange Show was conceived by a group of civic-minded San Bernardino businessmen as a means of encouraging the culture of citrus fruits and promoting the distribution of the "exotic crop" throughout the world. That first tiny citrus fair was held March 6th through March 11th, 1911. Exhibits packed two canvas tents in a vacant lot at 4th & "E" Streets. The two tents covered about 8000 square feet. Rain fell continuously during the five-day event, but that didn't seem to have an affect. More than 3000 people attended that year.
(Inside the First National Orange Show, 1911)
(A citrus exhibit during the 1913, National Orange Show)
In the following years, it came to be called "California's Greatest Midwinter Event." A permanent site was located at Mill & "E" Streets. One of the largest and finest exposition buildings in the nation opened in 1925.
(Exhibit building built in 1929, burned down in 1949)
In it's heyday, the National Orange Show drew over 300,000 visitors each year. In 1949, the Exhibit Building was destroyed by fire. Many other large buildings and a stadium were added in the following years.
Although it has little to do with the citrus industry anymore, the National Orange Show continues to be held annually. Click on this link for information on the National Orange Show Festival and over 300 other events each year.