The 2023 Draft Horse Classic takes place September 21-24 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Don’t miss the performances of the Gentle Giants, enjoy food and drinks while perusing Harvest Fair exhibits and Art at the Classic.

YouTube video

Draft Horse Classic Public Hours:

  • Thursday gates open at 3 pm
  • Friday gates open at 3 pm
  • Saturday gates open at 9am
  • Sunday gates open at 9am

Tickets On Sale Now

Harvest Fair

There’s still time to enter the Harvest Fair competition, by showcasing your talents with other garden enthusiasts, bakers and crafters. Simply print & fill out the entry form in the Competition Handbook above and drop it in the mail or at the administration office. Or send an email to

All entries must be received by September 17, 2023. There is no entry fee. You can also enter your exhibits online here: ShoWorks for Online Entries. The competition handbook with all the available categories is here.

Art at the Classic

Art at the Classic is an equine and western art show that features impressive works of art in a dozen categories and more than 100 works by painters, sculptors, photographers and other fine artists.  The show has become one of the premier displays of its kind – attracting both art lovers and horse lovers. Artists are encouraged to participate by entering artwork in the show and purchasing booth space at the show.

Call for Artists
Are you interested in showcasing your artwork at Art at the Classic? The juried show is open to all artists over 18 years old whose work reflects a western way of life and includes any equine subject, work on the land, western landscape, animals or wildlife. Entries must be artist’s original design, produced in the last three years, and not previously shown in Art at the Classic. Classes include oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, pen and ink, graphic and charcoal, colored pencil, photography, sculpture, miniatures, and anything goes. All artwork must be for sale.

Cash awards and ribbons will be given to First Place in each class and Best of Show.  Ribbons will be awarded for Best Draft Horse Theme, Honorable Mention, and People’s Choice.  The artist for the 2024 Draft Horse Classic poster will also be chosen from submitted artwork.

If you’re interested in participating in the show, please complete the application linked here: Art at the Classic Entry Form (Artwork Only)

If you have questions about Art at the Classic, please contact Judy at (530) 265-5299 or

But wait, there’s more!

Nevada County Mini Makers Faire:

Northern Mines Building
Saturday: 11am – 7pm
Sunday: 11am – 4pm
Visit the 2023 Mini Makers Faire at the Draft Horse Classic. Join the Curious Forge and along with local artisans, artists, and makers of many things. You’ll find interactive booths and demonstrations throughout the day.

Cornhole at the Classic:

Saturday, September 23rd on the Dance Pad
Tournament Sign Ups at 12pm, Bags Fly at 1pm. Join the fun in one of 3 categories of play or just come by and enjoy the competition! The Classic welcomes the DFT Cornhole Club as tournament masters for our first Cornhole Competition Tournament at the Draft Horse Classic. Sign Up NOW for the skill level that suits you:

  • Advanced: This level is a ‘Bring Your Own Partner” – these players can execute sliding the bag and airmailing the bag as needed and fully understand game strategy.
  • Competitive: This level is a ‘Bring Your Own Partner” – these players fully understand game strategy but may struggle with consistency.
  • Backyard: This level is a compilation of both Intermediate and Novice players and you sign up as an individual.

To sign up and track your progress throughout the tournament, download the Scoreholio App, Search for Classic, then choose your level and register. You can also just come the day of to be added to the list of players.

Western Trade Show

During the Classic, throughout the Fairgrounds, a multitude of vendors display their goods at the Western Trade Show. It is here that you can find handmade jewelry, Draft Horse memorabilia, western wear, handmade wooden toys, handmade soaps, English toffee, handmade rustic wooden frames from reclaimed wood, leather purses, belts, wallets, art, lawn ornaments, and western home decor. A selection that would take time and travel to find elsewhere is all displayed in one area for your shopping convenience.

Food and Beverages

Food vendors will be selling delicious festival food from booths located around the grounds, as well as from some of the Treat Street booths, during all four days of the Classic! Whether it’s Nachos, a cold beer, hot coffee, a baked potato, a cinnamon roll, or a sandwich, it can be found from one of the many food vendors found at the Classic.

Visits to the Barns

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.

Special Exhibits

Pine Tree Quilters

An exhibit of Early Day Gas Engines (Gold Country Flywheelers), Gate 1

Narrow-Gauge Railroad Exhibit (Saturday and Sunday 11am – 5pm)

Gardening, Gourds, and More! 

Visit Main Street Center to see community exhibits showcasing the outcome of hard work and long hours by gardeners, crafters and bakers.