Last week, Sandy Woods, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds, received a Governor-signed copy of AB 2490, supporting California’s Fairgrounds. Sandy has worked tirelessly on behalf of California’s network of Fairs, and this entire advocacy team is to be commended.
In the photo is Norm Towne, WFA Executive Director Stephen Chambers, Advocate Louie Brown, CFA Chair Cliff Munson of Siskiyou Golden Fair, WFA Hall of Famer Sandy Woods of the Nevada County Fair, CFA Vice Chair Sarah Cummings of Sonoma-Marin Fair, and WFA President Troy Bowers of Amador County Fair.
As the Chair of the California Fairs Alliance and the CEO of the Nevada County Fair, I have grave concerns regarding the future for the network of California fairs.
California’s fairs fell victim to the total elimination of state funding in 2011, a financially radical step resulting from the serious budget crisis. Over the past 75 years, the state has made significant investments in the creation and infrastructure improvements of California’s fairs. Without state funding, these properties will deteriorate and in their downfall create public safety issues. The reality is that, through sales tax, the network of California fairs is currently a huge revenue generator for the state of California. Without funding to maintain the infrastructure, what were once state assets may breakdown into state liabilities.
The Nevada County Fair enjoys significant community support and we’ve partnered with our non-profit organizations as a means for accomplishing some infrastructure projects. However, the scope of maintaining the Fair’s infrastructure goes far beyond the partnerships with local non-profit organizations. We need to find financial solutions to preserve our fair and the network of California fairs. Clearly we’re running out of time, evidenced by CDFA’s identification of 14 District Agricultural Associations on the fiscal “at risk” list. We need the immediate help of the legislature to find solutions!
The May Revise which reports the proposed revisions to the state’s 2014-2015 budget shows a significant increase in state funding. Now is the opportunity for the state legislature to protect California’s fairs – vital state assets that create jobs, help local economies and protect the public during times of disaster and emergencies.
What can you do to help? Write or email your legislators (http://www.legislature.ca.gov/legislators_and_districts/legislators/your_legislator.html) and/or write to the Governor (https://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php).
Thank you for your support. It’s time to step up and protect California’s fairs – one of California’s most vital assets.
CEO, Nevada County Fairgrounds