The Earl Warren Showgrounds was originally developed as the permanent location for the Santa Barbara National Horse and Flower show as well to attract and support other equestrian and agricultural events to the Santa Barbara area. In 1950, a site at the corner of Las Positas Road and Calle Real was selected for the showground. The State of California, using funds provided by the horse show association, purchased 136.5 acres of land at the site. To gain support for construction of the facilities from the City of Santa Barbara and the local community, the District gave eighty-two acres to the City to add to the community golf course and ten acres for the construction of Adams Elementary School.
In 1955, the 19th Agricultural District received State authorization to plan and build the only fairgrounds in California specifically designed for horse and flower shows. The Equestrian Facility was completed in 1958, with the Exhibit building finished 1959 and the administration building was added in 1961.
Today the Earl Warren Showgrounds is a 34 acres multi-use property located in the City of Santa Barbara. The property is bordered to the west and north by the Santa Barbara Community Golf Course and Adams Elementary School which were part of the original property; to the east by Las Positas Street and to the south by Highway 101. Facilities include equestrian arena and livestock facilities, 22,000 sq/ft Exhibit Hall, 13,000 sq,/ft Warren Hall, , Reception Garden, In-line Skating Hockey Facility and RV Parking Lot. The Earl Warren Showgrounds is a community asset increases and remains the only public location with relatively large indoor facilities, abundant parking (1007 spaces) and easy freeway access.
The Earl Warren Showgrounds is managed by the 19th District Agricultural Association which is a statutorily created agency of the state of California, Department of Food and Agriculture, Division of Fairs and Expositions. The district is comprised of all that portion of Santa Barbara county lying East of the Gaviota pass and south of the Santa Ynez mountains. The governance and policy-making is vested in nine voting directors, appointed by the governor to staggered four-year terms.