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May 10, 2022

This week, your host is joined by the Manager at the Placer County Fair, Carrie Fankhauser!


The Placer County Fair Association ran the Placer County Fair for 80 years. With an economic downturn, the fair was failing and Placer County considered repurposing the fairgrounds for housing. In 2017, the county approached David Attaway, who stepped up with a vision for a revitalized exhibit building and new event center to be used year-round for the home of the fair as well as sporting events, meetings, and more. This began the organization @TheGrounds, which operates the fair on the fourth weekend of June.


Carrie shares the history of the project and the success it is experiencing as she goes into her fourth year of operations with the fair.

Listen in for more info about The Placer County Fair and @TheGrounds.


Topics of Discussion:

[:45] Christina Rudolph welcomes you to this episode of The County Fair Podcast and introduces her guest, Carrie Fankhauser, Manager at The Placer County Fair and HR Manager at @TheGrounds.

[1:05] Christina welcomes Carrie Fankhauser to the podcast!

[1:21] The Placer County Fair is located on the old fairgrounds and was operated by the Placer County Fair Association for 80 years. With an economic downturn, the fair needed help. In 2017, @TheGrounds revitalized and expanded the fairgrounds into an event center with a 160,000 square foot indoor sports facility. Some funding came from Placer Valley Tourism.

[3:27] There are 25 hotels in the County, with more to come. Placer County is a great area. They wanted a facility to be used in the winter months to keep the hotels busy. In 2019, they broke ground on the Roebbelen Sports Center, named after the construction company. It’s a beautiful, high-tech facility. It’s pretty full for 2022.

[6:08] Placer County is northeast of Sacramento, California, on the way to Reno, Nevada. The weather is great with no humidity. It gets hot in the summer. With the fair being held the fourth weekend of June, they always seem to hit the first 100-degree weather!

[7:01] The new indoor facility will be used for the fair, providing some protection from the heat. Inside the Roebbelen Center, there will be a cornhole tournament, an acrobatics troupe, and other entertainment, with room for about 20 indoor vendors in the atrium.

[8:00] While this is the fifth year that @TheGrounds will run the Placer County Fair, it is the 85th year the fair has been in existence.

[8:23] Surrounding the area of @TheGrounds, Placer County has wineries, craft breweries, and agriculture. @TheGrounds is situated in the City of Roseville with museums and arts councils close by. Visitors may not be aware of all the area has to offer. The livestock community is fantastic!

[10:18] Exhibitors will bring steer, pigs, goats, sheep, pygmy goats, rabbits, and chickens.
[10:59] Carrie tells how COVID-19 influenced the fair. They worked with the county to make testing and vaccinations available, allowing many people to come through the fairgrounds who might not have, otherwise. 2021 was very successful. They were the first fair in the area to open after restrictions were lifted before California closed again! So they were inundated.

[16:39] The Placer County Fair’s goal for 2022 is to have 75% of the attendance it had in 2021.

[17:03] There is also a fair “right up the road” in a rural area of Placer County, in September, and the State Fair in July is in nearby Sacramento. The county residents support the Placer County Fair.

[18:17] Carrie talks about the marketing and branding efforts and the website. They put a lot of effort into marketing in 2021. They have a designated marketing person five days a week in the @TheGrounds office plus the support of Placer Valley Tourism. The Placer County Fair website is also about to be updated. The website can be used to register animals, buy tickets, and more.

[20:41] Carrie reveals the marketing focus for 2022. They will have a “Meet the Exhibitor” feature on their Facebook page with bios, pictures, and even short videos. Exhibitors can contribute their information through ShoWorks when they register for the fair. Carrie has been very happy with the simplicity of ShoWorks.

[23:26] Carrie gives credit to the staff of @TheGrounds. She shares how the staff has grown from four in 2017 to the large crew of full-time office staff and part-time event workers in 2022.

[25:40] @TheGrounds recently lost its CEO, David Attaway, who started @TheGrounds in 2017 and was CEO of Placer Valley Tourism since 2010. Carrie discusses David’s vision for @TheGrounds and how Carrie became both the Fair Manager and the HR Manager for @TheGrounds. The 2022 fair will be Carrie’s first one as the official Fair Manager.

[28:24] Christina and Carrie talk about how The Placer County Fair uses all the capabilities of ShoWorks. What would Carrie’s advice be to a brand new user of ShoWorks on how to use it? Use it, from beginning to end! Use the Auction Playbook!

[30:49] What about advice for the seasoned user? Multi-purpose the exhibitors’ pictures and bios. Use them to market the air, and to market the exhibitors on Facebook. Use all the reports ShoWorks offers. Carrie is still amazed in her third year of using it by what she can pull up out of the data. Use the marketing tools in ShoWorks.

[32:43] Carrie tells about her love of fairs. It’s the community and the people! Carrie shares some of her history with @TheGrounds from 2017. She started with no knowledge of fairs. She couldn’t have grown as she has done without the livestock community and the fair community!

[35:46] Fair time is always exhausting but you feel like a family when you’re working that fair!

[36:10] Christina encourages listeners to visit the links for the Placer County Fair and @TheGrounds.

[36:39] Christina thanks Carrie for joining The County Fair Podcast!


Mentioned in this Episode:

PlacerCounty Fair


Placer County Fair on Facebook

Placer Valley Tourism

Roebbelen Sports Center

Roseville, California

Reach Carrie Fankhauser on LinkedIn at Carrie Fankhauser


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