County declines State Fair invitation

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Visitors to the California State Fair on Friday, July 27, enjoyed the Colusa County exhibit, which featured the Arbuckle Car Show, a photo opportunity, recreation activities, and locally-grown commodities.

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A longtime tradition for Colusa County at the California State Fair has come to an end.

The Board of Supervisors last week pulled the plug on having a county exhibit at the summer exposition in Sacramento, after state officials ended their tradition of awarding about $300,000 total to exhibitors who receive Gold, Silver, Bronze and special awards.

The price money historically helped pay for construction of the exhibit, said Gerry Hernandez, of the Colusa County Cooperative Extension Office, who has overseen the project for many years.

“There will be no price money awarded this year,” Hernandez said.

County officials could have pictured themselves having another county exhibit at the Expo this year, playing off this year’s theme “Picture Yourself In,” but they would have had to cough up $4,000 to pay the builder.

“I think it’s time we moved on,” said Chairwoman Denise Carter. “I think our money would be better spent updating our exhibit at the State Capitol.”

While the California Counties exhibit at the State Fair has been a long-standing fan favorite and always drew big crowds of fairgoers every year, the number of mostly Northern California counties who entered the competition as a way to advertise recreation and business opportunities, has dropped over the years. Only 17 counties participated in 2019, down from about 27 or 28 that participated annually over the past decade.

“It seems to be that the State Fair doesn’t have their heart and soul, obviously, in keeping the county exhibit portion of the building,” Carter said.

Colusa County typically walked away with lucrative Silver Awards for exhibits the featured, in recent years, the Sacramento River, the Colusa Farm Show, the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, and the Sacramento Valley Museum.

Colusa County’s 2012 “Tribute to Camping,” earned not only the Silver Award but the coveted Superintendent’s Award, which also garnered additional prize money.

Over the years, the counties’ exhibit area has gotten smaller, pushed out by more modern exhibits, food and product vendors, among other things.

“Unfortunately, it’s just the sign of the times,” Carter said. ■