The Plumas Sierra County Fair crashed the Western Fairs Association Convention with a series of First Place Awards. Although it did not win the prestigious Merrill Award, Fair Manager John Steffanic was pleased to receive four first place finishes in the general achievement awards. The Plumas Sierra County Fair is in the Class 1 category which includes all fairs with attendance up to 100,000. “This meant we bettered the likes of Santa Barbara and Napa County Fairs”, reported Steffanic. “It was extremely gratifying to be recognized as the best on the West Coast in these categories.”
The awards came for excellence in the areas of: Theme Program, for the 2017 theme of “Art to Ag”; Fair Logo, for its “Art to Ag” logo featuring Warhol like cows in sunglasses; Guest Services, for the popular Chipper Express golf cart tours; and Event Within An Event, for the Merrill Award finalist “Artopolis”. The fair was given beautiful certificates which Steffanic promises will be displayed at this year’s fair.
Each year, Western Fairs Achievement Committee chooses several awards as ‘Featured Awards”, and gives special attention to these at the closing banquet. The Theme Program was one of these special awards and the Plumas Sierra County Fair was given an impressive glass award honoring its first place finish for the “Art to Ag” theme. “It was awfully exciting to hear the words Plumas and Sierra in the Anaheim Convention Center,” Steffanic said, “I think we definitely showed up on the radar of many people during the convention.”
The local fair was also a finalist for the Merrill Award, named for the founder of Western Fairs Association. It is given to those showing innovation and creativity in the fair industry. Plumas Sierra was nominated for the 2017 installation of “Artopolis”. It was up against the San Diego County Fair, which gave free fair tickets to new U.S. citizens; The Alameda County Fairgrounds for its Digital Marketing Program; The Marin County Fair, that did an extensive theme program based on the Summer of Love, theirs being the Summer of Fun; and the New Mexico State Fair, which created an Autism Awareness Sensory Station. Although the award had been selected before the convention even began, each fair made a presentation about their project at the opening Leadership Luncheon. When the winner was announced at the Awards Banquet on Friday Night, the New Mexico State Fair and the San Diego County Fair shared the Merrill Award. “I know it sounds cliché, but it really was an honor being a finalist,” Fair Manager Steffanic said. “We made a splash with our presentation, and I know many will be looking for what we can do next year.”
The 2019 Convention will be held in Reno and Steffanic hopes this year’s theme of “Welcome to the Neighborhood” will be good enough to the catch the eye of the awards committee again. The Plumas Sierra County Fair, as well as many small fairs have not been recognized due to the fact that the process does take a little time and thought to enter. Many of the larger fairs actually have staff that spend a good amount of time preparing these entries. He says it was at the previous year’s convention that he asked other fairs in Northern California how many awards they have won, and got no response. He said there are many great ideas that come from small fairs and challenged the other fairs to enter. “It certainly paid off for our fair”, he said.