Just a few years ago, a plan to raise enough money to remodel Festival Hall seemed like an insurmountable undertaking for the small group of dedicated volunteers.
Today, the project is all but completed.
“I can’t say enough about this group of people,” said Foundation President Ben Carter, at the annual membership meeting on March 18, in Etchepare Hall.
Festival Hall, one of the primary exhibit and rental buildings for the Colusa County Fair, has had a near-complete interior transformation that includes the installation of new heating and air conditioning, two huge new ceiling fans to circulate air, a whole new ceiling treatment, all new insulation, new drywall, new front entry door and windows, new exit lighting, new interior paint, and a host of other improvements.
“We did a lot,” said Michael Doherty, Fair Foundation director. “We will eventually paint the exterior, but everything on the inside has been painted: the kitchen, the bathrooms, everything. It’s really freshened up.”
Doherty said that once Festival Hall’s exterior is completed, the Foundation plans to paint the exteriors of the remaining buildings in similar colors to give the Fairgrounds a more homogeneous look.
The Fair Foundation was formed in 2014 for a variety of purposes, Carter said, including preserving the heritage and vitality of the Colusa County Fair, providing financial support for repairs and improvements of the fairgrounds, and educating the community concerning the value of the fair and its facilities.
“We’ve had about five years of operations,” Carter said. “In that five years, we have raised over $700,000. All of that has been put back into the fairgrounds.”
Carter said about $275,000 was invested in Festival Hall, although the total cost for the building’s improvements will likely run $400,000 to $500,000 before it’s completed.
“We still have a lot more work ahead of us,” Carter said. “Between now and 2023, we will continue to invest in Festival Hall.”
The Colusa County Fair Foundation has about 105 members, which accounts for about 25 percent of the budget.
“The remaining budget comes from fundraising, and this year’s main fundraiser will be a doozy,” said Foundation Secretary Shiela Etchepare.
The Colusa County Fair Foundation plans to host a “Redneck Rodeo,” in which five teams will compete to dress a sheep, milk a goat, paint a pig, and a few other unusual tasks.
The group is planning a bigger fundraising push in 2019, and will try to draw even more attendance at the annual fundraiser than “Kiss the Pig,” in 2017, and “Pigs, Chickens and Pickin,” in 2018, which garnered more than $60,000 and $90,000, respectively, for Foundation coffers.
This year’s “Redneck Rodeo” and accompanying barbecue will be held at 6 PM on the evening before the opening of the 2019 Colusa County Fair, Wednesday, June 5, in the TK Marshall Pavilion, at the fairgrounds.
“Everything will be timed events because last year it went on a little too long,” Etchepare said. “It’s going to be some good ole country fun and we’re going to go big.”
The Colusa County Fair Foundation, a non-profit organization, has an 11-member board of directors, each serving staggered four-year terms. ■