Del Mar Fair board approves $25,000 for struggling agency

By Joe Tash

One year after coming to the rescue of a tiny, struggling county fair in Northern California with a $100,000 cash infusion, Del Mar fairgrounds officials agreed to give the fair another $25,000 next year.

The 22nd District Agricultural Association board, which runs the state-owned Del Mar fairgrounds, voted unanimously Dec. 17 to provide the funding to the Modoc County Fair. State officials and a private foundation are expected to provide another $75,000 in matching grants.

Modoc fair manager Danette DePaul told the 22nd DAA board last year that her fair was in danger of closing for good without the assistance. This year, she said support is still needed as the fair explores sources of additional funding, such as organized mountain bike rides and providing goods or services to thousands of people who pass through Modoc County on the way to and from the annual Burning Man Festival in Nevada.

Modoc County is in the northeast corner of the state, and its population is about 9,700. Recent funding cuts by the state have put small fairs such as Modoc in jeopardy.

DePaul said the Modoc County fairgrounds is an important community resource, used for a variety of purposes from entertainment venue to emergency evacuation center to high school prom site.