Angels Camp, CA — A non-profit group will take over the operations of the Calaveras County Fairgrounds and the annual Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee.
The Friends of the Calaveras County Fair will accept the responsibilities in January. The fair is currently operated under the state Division of Fairs and Expositions. Governor Jerry Brown eliminated funding for state fairs earlier this year, which is an $185,000 loss for Calaveras County.
The current Fair Board of Directors, who are state appointed, feel that allowing a non-profit to takeover is the best direction moving forward. The state will continue to own the property off Highway 49 in Angels Camp, and the non-profit group will lease the grounds and be in charge of day-to-day operations. Not being a state agency, the group will have more flexibility when it comes to selling advertising, running raffles, and raising money from food sales.
Firman Brown, President of the Calaveras County Friends of the Fair, says there are tremendous challenges ahead because the group is starting from scratch to raise money. However, he feels confident they can be successful under the new arrangement. He notes that the fairgrounds play an important role in the community because they are used throughout the year for events, not just the annual fair.
Leslie Davis, another Director of the Friends of the Fair, states, “This is exciting. If you don’t take risks, you don’t have success.”
The decision also has the approval of Current Fair CEO Ray Malerbi, who recently announced that he will be retiring. “They (Friends of the Fair) have proven that they can start with very little and build something big, something the community can be proud of. I am excited to see what they can do with the entire Fairgrounds to operate.”
The Friends of the Calaveras County Fair plans to name a General Manager at a later date.
The organization was founded in 2008 and has raised money for improvement projects and events at the fairgrounds.