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The long history of holding fairs dates back to 1242 when the King Bela IV issued the Gold Bull declaring Zagreb a free royal city and giving it the right to hold fairs. Since that time Zagreb has been nurturing the fair organizing tradition.

The first large international exhibition in Zagreb was held in 1864, so it is not surprising that the Zagreb Fair has come into being. The period from 1956 onwards is considered to be especially significant for the development of the Zagreb Fair because through the merit of Većeslav Holjevac, the then mayor of the City of Zagreb, the Zagreb Fair was relocated to the new grounds across the river Sava.

From that moment on the Zagreb Fair has experienced a vigorous growth.

Since 1925 the Zagreb Fair has been a member and one of the founders of UFI - Union des Foires Internationales today numbering 533 permanent members. It has also hosted three UFI World Congresses.