Bill Mitchell was recently named the 2014 Blue Ribbon Award recipient by the Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors. The award was created by the Fair’s industry association, the Western Fairs Association (WFA), to recognize dedicated individuals who support their local Fair and continuously contribute to the quality of the Fair. Bill was recognized for his key role with the exhibit crew, as well as his ongoing volunteer efforts at the Fair.
After retiring from the Grass Valley School District – where he worked for 37 years as a band teacher at Lyman Gilmore, Hennessy and Scotten schools – Bill joined the exhibit crew at the Fairgrounds in 2005. It was his inspiration that created the signage at the street corner near the Gentle Giant monument, as well as the poster signs at the gates during the Fair, and the Highway 20 billboard. It was also through Bill’s efforts that the Prop Shop was organized, and, consequently, has saved the Fair significant dollars in labor. Additionally, he lends a huge hand in setting up for the Country Christmas Faire.
While Bill retired from the Fairgrounds in 2012, even in “retirement,” he continues to actively participate at the Fair – putting up signage, displaying banners, puttering in the Prop Shop, assisting with the Country Christmas Faire, and cooking at the Foundation’s annual Cioppino Feed.
Bill, who has lived in Nevada County since 1969, has been married to his wife, Karen, for 46 years. They have two children, Tom and Jennifer, and one grandson, Adler. Bill is active in the Foothill Lions Club, and enjoys spending time with his grandson.
“The Nevada County Fair is special to everyone,” says Bill. “Karen and I and our children, and now our grandson, have spent countless hours enjoying the Fair. It takes a lot of people to put together the events at the Fairgrounds, and I definitely don’t feel I deserve this award any more than any of the other people who put in countless hours to make these events successful. I am humbled and honored.”
“Bill is a wonderful person, and a true asset to our Fairgrounds,” said Sandy Woods, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “He has a big heart and a passion for the Fair, and it is with great pride that he receives this industry award.”
Bill was recognized in a surprise presentation at the Nevada County Fair’s Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday, August 6.