Budget Ax Falls on County Fairs; Tulare Steps Up to Bridge Gap

Whether you go to the Tulare County Fair for food or for the rides, there's no arguing that it takes an army to pull off an event of that magnitude.

But the manpower is even more crucial for the 2014 edition of the fair, following cuts to{}its budget.

"I think it was a blow to all fairs," says Pamela Fyock, CEO of the Tulare County Fair.

She is taking over at a tough time.

Sacramento cut about $38 million from county fair budgets.

The hit on Tulare County: $300,000.

That's money that Fyock says, could have done a lot of good for the fair, that will run September 10-14.

"Would have been used for educational and youth programs," she says.

That's just for starters.

She says that money could have been used to pay salaries during the five-day fair, too.

"Ticket takers, office help, barn help, ticket sellers," she says.

But rather than dwell on the cuts, families and businesses in Tulare County have been stepping up.

They recently formed a fair foundationa non-profit arm to bring in much needed help.

"There's some companies stepping up, taking responsibility saying, 'We'll help do this part of the fair.' The grounds will be more beautiful than ever," Fyock says.

While some volunteers plan to focus on landscaping, and clearing weeds that cover the entrance, other help has already started coming in.

Some of the fair's food vendors have donated items for the commercial kitchen, including stoves, microwaves, coffee makers and refrigerators.

The building and land doesn't sit empty year-round.

It's leased for events like this weekend's sprint car races.

That revenue helps.

But it also shows the need to upgrade the place for use 365 days a year.

"It really hasn't affected it because it's regenerating the community to support the fair. I consider it a benefit," she says.

If you'd like to volunteer your services for the fairand possibly receive some promotional considerationyou can reach Pamela Fyock at (559) 686-4707 or by email at


Fundraising events are also being planned by the Fair Foundation.

A dinner is planned for Saturday, March 22, featuring guest speaker Dr. Scott Vernon.

Vernon is an Agriculture Communications professor at Cal Poly. He's also an advocate for Youth and County Fairs.

There will also be dancing to music by Branded Heart.

Tickets are $100 per person, or $1,000 for a reserved table for 10.

"This fair helps us educate children and adults about agriculture, and it provides family fun," Fyock says.

"This is a legacy that creates lasting memories - and a legacy that is at risk. We are grateful to major sponsor Ed Dena's Auto Center and others for their support."

For tickets and sponsorship information, call (559) 686-4707.

Click to download the invitation and RSVP. (Invitation PDF){} (RSVP PDF)