The Fairgrounds Nashville
The Fairgrounds Nashville is the ideal site for meetings, conferences, trade shows and special events of all sizes for meeting planners or show promoters looking for space within Davidson County.
The Fairgrounds is located on 117 acres less than one mile south of downtown Nashville. Abundant parking and eight HVAC equipped buildings totaling more than 120,000 square feet of indoor space makes this expo center ideally suited for meetings and indoor or large scale outdoor events.
The Fairgrounds offers easily affordable meeting space with the most preferred location in all of Davidson County with direct interstate access from I-65, I-440 and I-24. We are the second ranked meeting place in the Nashville Metro area.
The property of the State Fairgrounds dates back to before there was even a state of Tennessee or a city of Nashville. The Fairgrounds is the largest and last portion of a 640 acre tract of land belonging to Captain John Rains. The land was originally inhabited by Native Americans at that time. John Rains was given the land by the United States as a reward for service to the Revolutionary War.
Rains is credited with bringing the first herds of cattle and horses to the region, and his herds grazed on what is now The Fairgrounds along Brown’s Creek.
Before there was country music, before there was a Ryman, before Tennessee became famous for the Tennessee Walking Horse in the mid-1900s, the state was known throughout the country as the center for thoroughbred horses. For most of the nineteenth century, Tennessee, not Kentucky, was acknowledged as the center of horse breeding and horse racing in the United States.
The most famous race track in Tennessee was Cumberland Park situated on the site of the current racetrack at the fairgrounds. A road was built to connect several noted stables in Nashville to Cumberland Park. Horse racing is what first put Nashville on the map when Cumberland Park hosted the largest purse in the world for horse racing.
The horse, John R. Gentry held the world record for trotting horses and retired in 1900. He was buried in the infield of the fairgrounds racetrack. Over 100 people attended the funeral.
The Cumberland Fair and Racing Association sponsored harness racing at Cumberland Park from 1891-1894. Running races 1893-1906 preceded the State Fair 1906 when at that time, the Tennessee General Assembly passed an anti-betting law, bringing an end to horse racing in Tennessee for many years.
Horse racing carried on at The Fairgrounds until the late 50’s, co-existing with dirt track auto racing. But when auto racing took the lead, the track was paved, ending horse racing there with remaining horses moving to Maryland Farms in Brentwood.