Posted: 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, 2014

California county fairs vow to keep up funding fight

fair funding
fair funding

By Ken Pritchett

KTVU.com

PLEASANTON, Calif. —

The recently passed state budget once again left California’s county fairs with zero funding.

The Western Fairs Association said in a statement that funding is needed “to repair severely neglected infrastructure at the state-owned network of 76 fairgrounds located in every California county.”

The California Fairs Alliance says $32 million dollars a year was eliminated from the state budget as a result of recession related cuts in 2011.

That funding was not restored despite support from many lawmakers and a healthier general fund.

The Alameda County Fair, which opened Wednesday night, is one many fairgrounds located in major metropolitan areas that are not impacted significantly, or at all, by state budget cuts.

“Our fair generates its own income that is put right back in the facility and our community,” said Alameda County Fair spokeswoman Angel Moore.

Smaller fairgrounds, in rural areas of California, are much more dependent on state funding.

The California Fairs Alliance says the infrastructure improvements at county fairgrounds are key for local economies and for public safety as fairgrounds are evacuation centers and staging areas during natural disasters.

Fairground advocates were seeking $20 million dollars annually to make infrastructure improvements.

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