Merced County Times Newspaper
The Power of Positive Press
A group picture with the big check for County Fair facilities.

County Fair receives $5 million from state ag agency



Merced County Fair directors Vicky Banaga, Mark Erreca, Kim Rogina, and Carol Sartori-Silva, along with Fair CEO Teresa Burrola, welcomed California Department of Food & Agriculture Deputy Secretary Michael Flores to the Fairground’s Pavilion Building on Wednesday, Aug. 9.

CEO Burrola also greeted several guests including staff from the offices of Congressman John Duarte, Senator Anna Caballero, and Assemblymember Esmerada Soria. Merced County Supervisors Lloyd Pareira, Daron McDaniel, and Josh Pedrozo and Merced City Councilmember Sarah Boyle were on hand, as were representatives from Cal EOS, the American Red Cross, and United Way of Merced County.

CEO Burrola opened the event reflecting on her 25 years with the Merced County Fair. During her tenure, she experienced not only fairs and festivals, but also many emergency situations such as serving as a shelter for residents of Planada and Merced during the tragic flooding in early 2023, and also in 2022, as a staging site for Cal Fire as they battled the devastating Oak Fire.

Deputy Secretary Flores remarks focused on the many areas of community service that are supported by the Merced County Fair.

“In addition to serving as a venue for affordable annual community events, during emergencies they repurpose facilities and grounds to serve as emergency evacuation sites for local families, their pets, and livestock,” he said. “Fairgrounds and their staff have to stand ready 24/7, 365 days of the year, to fulfill the needs of the community, and Merced County Fairgrounds is no different. In the last decade you have been called to serve your community in times of need, whether it has been fire, Covid response, or, most recently, the winter floods. Teresa, her staff, and this Board have stepped up to meet the needs of Merced County and its residents. They are to be commended.”

At the end of his remarks, he officially awarded the Merced County Fairgrounds $5 million from the CDFA as part of its Fairgrounds Resilience Center Program. This program focuses on improving local fairgrounds and other community facilities to enhance the state’s emergency preparedness.

Merced County Fair Board of Directors President Vicky Banaga closed the presentation by saying “What an incredible moment we are here to celebrate together. Fairgrounds throughout California, not just ours, serve their communities in a variety of ways. We are so proud of what the Merced County Fair provides to our region: a place to gather, economic impact, and a resource in times of emergency. We are grateful to CDFA for the $5 million investment into our facilities. These funds will significantly improve the 131-year-old facilities so we can continue to serve the community and state in times of emergencies as well as in celebration.”

The Merced County Fair will utilize these funds to upgrade Yosemite Hall with a large commercial kitchen, HVAC system and new entrance, along with a new roof for the Pavilion building. The Merced County Fair was one of 12 California fairs to receive funds from CDFA’s Fairgrounds Resilience Center Program.

You might also like