County Exhibits: Pride, Passion and a Few Nuts
As I sat down to write this blog about the County Exhibits at the State Fair the word that kept coming to mind was “pride.” The exhibits are all about the counties, but behind each one are people who are so proud of the produce, products, history, innovation and natural beauty of their county they just had to share it with about 750,000 people who will visit the state fair. I was lucky enough to be one of the judges this year. It’s not easy when all of the entries are so good.
You can see the pride in Sierra County’s exhibit featuring its mining history. You can see it in Sacramento County’s “Farm to Fork” display, in Monterey County’s booth with Laguna Seca Raceway and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and in Mono County’s display that features real artifacts from the historic ghost town of Bodie–including a two-holer outhouse. You can see it in the fruit and nuts on display from several counties in the Central Valley. A list of all the entries and their awards is provided below; and I can tell you, in each one of them, there is pride in the place and the people who live and work there.
Watch the CSAC video about the County Exhibits .
I know there are people in every California County that feel that same pride, but this year fewer than half of the 58 counties entered an exhibit in the State Fair. It costs some money to enter, and to design, build and staff an exhibit. It isn’t easy, especially when many county budgets are still in recovery mode. But the prize money awarded by the fair usually covers at least part of the cost and you can look at it as an investment. If your exhibit at the state fair brings just a handful of extra visitors to your county, or sells a bit more produce, the money is well spent.
From talking to the other judges, some of whom have been involved in these exhibits for a long time, I gather it really helps to find someone who is willing to be the spearhead on a project like this. One passionate person can usually find enough volunteers, donations and other resources to make it happen; but you have to find that person—or maybe you have to BE that person yourself.
If your county did not enter this year, I am urging you to take the reins, raise some money, build a coalition and work with your county government, local arts council, farm bureau or chamber of commerce to create an entry for next year. Money and materials can be donated. Time can be volunteered. Farmers, ranchers and businesses can provide the produce and products. All it takes is a little passion and a little pride. I know there are both, in abundance, in each of California’s 58.
The California State Fair runs through July 26 at Cal Expo in Sacramento. The County Exhibits are in Buildings A and B.
Best of Show – Sonoma County
Best of Division – Community Built Exhibits – Sierra County
Best of Division – Professionally Built Exhibits – Mono County
Best Content Award – Yolo County
Best Marketing Presentation Award – Sonoma County
Best Craftsmanship Award – Glenn County
Best Agricultural Presentation – San Joaquin County
Best Design Award – Sacramento County
Best Use of Special Effects/Animation Award – Monterey County
Best Use of Products, Produce or Artifacts – Mono County
Best Visitor Experience Award – Glenn County
Gold Awards: Glenn County, Mono County, Monterey County, Sacramento County, Sierra County, Solano County, Sonoma County, Tuolumne County, Yolo County
Silver Awards: Amador County, Butte County, Calaveras County, Colusa County, El Dorado County, Humboldt County, Inyo County, Mendocino County, Modoc County, Placer County, San Joaquin County, Santa Cruz County, Shasta County, Stanislaus County.