Blue Ribbons for Two Nevada County Fair Supporters

Before judges get to work examining the first exhibits of the Nevada County Fair, two special blue ribbons have already been awarded.

KNCO Radio Program Director Tom Fitzsimmons and West Coast Equine Sports Therapy operator Alyssa Mayo have been named the 2021 Blue Ribbon Award winners by the Nevada County Fair Board of Directors.

The Western Fairs Association Blue Ribbon Award recognizes and honors individuals or groups who have provided outstanding support to the Fair and/or the fair industry.

Fitzsimmons was chosen for his many years of broadcasting live from the Fair as well as showcasing exhibitors and events from the KNCO studios prior to the Fair.

“The Fair is absolutely the best event, and this year it will be even more important,” said Fitzsimmons. “There is a wholesomeness to the fair, from the first day when scholars and students are honored through Military Day and concluding with the Junior Livestock Auction.”

Fitzsimmons has broadcast live at the Fair from the KNCO gazebo for 26 years, as many years as he has worked for Nevada County Broadcasting. During the past few years, he has also covered live the Junior Livestock and Ag Mechanics Auctions.

“Broadcasting those events have brought more people to the events, many of whom have become buyers,” said Fitzsimmons.

In the weeks leading up to the Fair, Fitzsimmons reads live on-air up to 60 letters written by livestock exhibitors and ag mechanics students. The letters encourage prospective buyers to participate and bid.

“The first year, I read letters basically to fill time,” recalled Fitzsimmons, “but they were so well-received, I made the letters part of our pre-Fair programming. Listeners immediately gave positive feedback and wanted to hear more. The letters are cute and funny, and I share the goofy names the kids give their animals.”

Fitzsimmons hosts exhibitors on his Insight talk show before the Fair, and also broadcasts live from Community Involvement Day, this year on August 2 from 1-6 PM. Everyone is invited to go to the fairgrounds’ Main Street Center and donate to participating local nonprofits or give blood, and in exchange, receive free or special Fair admission ticket pricing.

This year’s other Blue Ribbon Award winner is Alyssa Mayo, who operates West Coast Equine Sports Therapy owned by her father, John. The facility is located at the former Maple Leaf Stables in Penn Valley. Among other therapies, the business features an AquaPacer, which is an above-ground underwater treadmill that offers low-impact exercise and conditioning for horses and dogs.

Mayo organized an elaborate fundraiser for the Fair last year after COVID forced the fairgrounds to cancel all income-generating events.

“The Save Our Fairgrounds fundraiser was in October 2020 and raised more than $20,000,” Mayo explained. “Individuals, artists, and businesses throughout the area donated $10,000 worth of items and services. We held a virtual auction so people could participate online, and we hosted a large in-person auction with major items from artwork to vacations to event tickets.

“We served a BBQ dinner prepared by the Silver Dollar Saloon and Restaurant from Marysville. Vintage Duels brought out a few of their race cars and Arnall Photography donated family photos at the event. Local 4-H and FFA members helped with the auction. We had approximately 150 people attend and people from all over the US participated virtually.”

Mayo, 34, says for as long as she can remember, she’s been participating in demonstrations at the horse arena during the Fair.

“This year, we will have several of our students riding and showing off their skills,” said Mayo, whose West Coast Equine Sports Therapy offers boarding, training, and lessons. “The focus of our demonstrations will be how to negotiate obstacles and build a trusting bond with your horse.”

Mayo is also involved with the fairgrounds as a teamster in the Draft Horse Classic.

“This will be my seventh year competing at the DHC,” said Alyssa. “I will be competing in Ladies Pleasure Driving and Gambler’s Choice, and one of my students will be driving in the PeeWee class.”

Mayo added, “I grew up in this beautiful community and my childhood is filled with memories of the Nevada County Fair and Draft Horse Classic. I want my future children to be able to say the same thing.”

Tom Fitzsimmons and Alyssa Mayo will be honored at the 2021 Nevada County Fair’s Opening Ceremony August 11. Each will receive an official Western Fairs Association Blue Ribbon Award with custom engraving and blue ribbon framed under glass.

This year’s Nevada County Fair will be held August 11-15. For more information, visit

Alyssa Mayo

Alyssa Mayo, who operates West Coast Equine Sports Therapy in Penn Valley, is one of two Blue Ribbon Award winners to be honored at the Nevada County Fair opening ceremonies August 11. In October, Mayo organized and hosted the “Save Our Fairgrounds” fundraiser that raised more than $20,000 for the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Tom Fitzsimmons

KNCO Radio Program Director Tom Fitzsimmons has broadcast live from the KNCO Gazebo at the Nevada County Fair for 26 years. His other live broadcasts from the fairgrounds include the Junior Livestock and Ag Mechanics Auctions, and Community Involvement Day. Fitzsimmons is one of two Blue Ribbon Award winners to be honored at the Nevada County Fair opening ceremonies August 11.

Categories: Site Updates.

Be an Awards Sponsor for the Still Exhibit and Livestock Program at the Nevada County Fair

In anticipation of the 2021 Nevada County Fair, we are rolling out a brand new way to sign up as an awards sponsor for the still exhibits and livestock programs. These digital forms will allow you to see every award that is available to be sponsored, including descriptions of the awards and prices. We’ve added some new awards this year and removed others, but rest assured that there are plenty of opportunities to sponsor. You can sponsor awards under your own name, a company or organization, or in honor or recognition of a friend or loved one.
There are two forms- one for livestock, horse, and small animals and the other for still exhibits and Ag Mechanics.
The generosity of our community makes it possible to have such an outstanding awards program. Without you, it simply wouldn’t be possible. If you have any questions or need assistance making your selections, please call the Fairgrounds at (530) 273-6217.
Categories: Events and Nevada County Fair.

May 1 Volunteer Work Day – ALL SHIFTS HAVE BEEN FILLED

May 1 Volunteer Work Day


After more than a year without events, California’s Most Beautiful Fairgrounds needs some spring cleaning. An enthusiastic group of Nevada County Fairgrounds’ lovers is planning a May 1 work day. Individuals, families, service organizations, high school students and everyone willing to roll up their sleeves are invited to trim flowers and bushes, clean garden begs, spread compost, prep lawns for mowing, pressure wash and paint, whack weeds, rake pine needles, and pick up pine cones, sticks and trash.

Categories: Nevada County Fair and Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Market Steer and Junior Horse Entries Due April 9

Attention 2021 Nevada County Fair Youth Exhibitors! Market Steer and Junior Horse entries are due tomorrow, Friday, April 9 by 4 pm. Before the deadline, be sure to properly enter your selected classes – including showmanship – and complete the Code of Practice and Contact Form with the required photo and proof of ownership attachments. You will need complete the YQCA training and have your certificate number to enter, so do not wait until the last minute. For more information and links, please visit: 🐴🐮🏆🏅

Categories: Nevada County Fair.

Thank You, Grass Valley Sportsmen’s Club

Thank you to the Grass Valley Sportsmen’s Club, represented by Jody Stover and George Chileski, for stopping by the Fairgrounds yesterday to drop off a donation of $1,000 to the Fairgrounds after a unanimous decision from their Board to make the donation. Jody and George said the club recognizes that 2020 was a difficult year for the Fairgrounds and wants to help support our work. They are hopeful (as are we!) for a 2021 Fair. We are so thankful for the support! If you know members of the GV Sportsmen’s Club, please be sure to thank them for the generous donation.
Photo: GV Sportsmen George Chileski and Jody Stover present a $1,000 check to Fairgrounds CEO Patrick Eidman.
Categories: Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Fairgrounds Fundraiser: Drive Thru Italian Pasta Dinner


Contact:         Sandy Woods, President, Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation
(530) 477-2097;


 The Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation, in partnership with the Foothill Lions Club, is hosting a Drive Thru Italian Pasta Dinner as a fundraiser for the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Tickets are on sale now at for a delicious Italian pasta dinner that feeds four people. Each family dinners includes spaghetti and sauce, four Italian sausages, four meatballs, green salad with Italian dressing, garlic bread and four cannoli for only $45.

All orders must be placed by April 9. Pick up is on Saturday, April 17 between 4-6 pm at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, Gate 2, Ponderosa Hall. This event is pre-sales only and there are no onsite sales, so order today.

Tickets are available online at All proceeds benefit the community’s Nevada County Fairgrounds, which has been severely financially impacted by the restrictions on mass gatherings caused by COVID-19.

For more information, visit or call (530) 273-6217.

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Categories: Events, Nevada County Fairgrounds, and Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation.

Higgins Diggins Lions Club Donates $1,000 and Challenges Other Service Clubs

Recently the Higgins Diggins Lions Club donated $1,000 to the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation.  In presenting the check, Higgins Diggins Lions Club President Laura Barhydt expressed the club’s passion and concern for the ongoing viability of the Nevada County Fairgrounds given the pandemic’s huge negative impact on the community’s Fairgrounds. President Barhydt, along with members of the club, is challenging other Nevada County non-profit service clubs to step up to matching Higgins Diggins’ donation to help the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Higgins Diggins Lions Club has a long record of service in the community going back more than forty years.  The Club’s major sources of revenue are the rental of the Higgins Lions Community Center, the annual Crab & Shrimp Feed, See’s candy sales during Christmas and Valentine’s day and, most recently, producing Drive Thru dinners.  The club has a strong membership that give freely of their time and resources to provide for the betterment of the community. 

The Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation is focused upon building a better Nevada County Fairgrounds through fundraising and contributions to the Fairgrounds.  Currently the major focus of the Foundation is to simply keep the Fairgrounds financially viable so that it will once again thrive as a great community asset.  The directors of the Foundation expressed their sincere appreciation for Higgins Diggins generous donation and expressed hopes that other service clubs will take up President Barhydt and the Higgins Diggins Lions Club’s challenge.

Categories: Nevada County Fairgrounds and Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation.

Drive Thru Italian Pasta Dinner (Fairgrounds Fundraiser)

So excited to announce the next Drive Thru fundraising event for the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Get your tickets here for a delicious Italian Pasta Dinner. Each meal feeds four people and includes spaghetti pasta and sauce, 4 Italian sausages, 4 meatballs, salad with Italian dressing, garlic bread and 4 cannoli for only $45. Yum!! All orders must be placed by April 9. Pick up is on Saturday, April 17 between 4 – 6 pm. This event is pre-sales only and there are no onsite sales. Our last event sold out early, so order today!

Hosted by the Fairgrounds Foundation and the Foothill Lions Club with all proceeds benefit the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Categories: Events, Nevada County Fairgrounds, and Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation.

2021 Fair Slogan: The Fair is Back in Town!

In hopeful anticipation of the 2021 Fair – and using the inspiration of optimism, resiliency, and coming together as a community – we’re happy to announce that the slogan for the 2021 Nevada County Fair is “The Fair is Back in Town!” Congratulations to Lisa Vaughan of Grass Valley for submitting the winning entry in the slogan contest that we ran at the end of 2020. We received almost 150 entries in the contest, so a big thank you to all who entered.

Categories: Nevada County Fair and Nevada County Fairgrounds.