Fair board considers grandstand entertainment

By Mari Erin Roth

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Staff Writer

The fair board met for the second time this month, which is unusual. High on the list of topics for discussion was “What will go in the Grand Stand” for big entertainment during the Plumas Sierra County Fair, July 28-31.



Big name acts such as Winnona Judd were mentioned along with the high price tag for such acts. Alternatives to music were discussed such as Tractor Pulls or even a Circus under the big tent. Fair Manager John Steffanic pointed out that the Grand Stand lawn area will “already be torn up” from High Sierra Music Festival so it wouldn’t be a bad time to have an event like a Tractor Pull, if the board wanted to go that direction.


With 3,000 seats available, the board was hard pressed to identify anything or anyone that might be able to attract that number of attendees. “The biggest attraction we ever had brought in 750 people,” said Steffanic. The most recent big show was an impersonator band that was offered free, no charge for admission, and that brought in 130 people.


“If there is no cost for admission,” said Steffanic, “people often think there is no value,” thus making a case for charging at least something for admission if an expensive show is chosen to perform during the fair. The names of artists made popular on Tik Tok were brought into the discussion, but then the demographics of Plumas County suggested picking an artist that appeals to the 40-something folks would be more likely to draw a crowd. “People may come from Reno for an act,” said Steffanic, “but they are going to come in the dozens, not the hundreds.” The board encouraged Steffanic to “knock on doors” to solicit donations and sponsors for a big show during the fair. Steffanic said the letters are already written.


At the very end of the meeting an idea emerged to have three “good” bands back to back, like a Battle of the Bands. Three somewhat local bands with their own followings was the final idea put on the table. “We have about 30 days left to make this decision,” said Steffanic of any decision involving name talent through an agency, “and then it’s going to come down to who is available” versus who they want.



Other things discussed at the board meeting included the fair schedule. Steffanic said that all events are “a go.” The calendar is full and can be viewed on the plumas-sierracountyfair.net website. The Pops Concerts will wrap up the series of three concerts annually with Jazz on Friday, May 13, and Brass on Saturday, June 11.


The 2021 Christmas on Parade event was a walk-thru event instead of the drive-thru mandated due to COVID in 2020. The event drew 200 people the first night and 100 people the second night in 2021. Surprisingly, 2020 brought in four times the funds as the 2021 event and the walking event presented some unexpected problems including frozen viewers. The decision was to return the event to a drive-thru and expand the tour to cover a larger portion of the fairgrounds.


The Fair Foundation will be hosting their “Social” Sunday, April 24, outside or if weather dictates, in the Viper Lounge. Foundation Socials feature fun, friendly folk, food and games, and always provides an opportunity to donate to the Fair Foundation which has provided $100,000 in improvements for the fairgrounds since the groups inception.


Steffanic presented the board with a long list of open volunteer positions that need filling during the fair. People to sit at the gates, handle parking, drive the Chipper Express, supervise Home Arts, clerking at various exhibits, building staffing, and helpers in the Junior Ag Barn are needed. Contact John Steffanic at the Fairgrounds 283-6272 and leave a message if interested in lending a hand. It’s hard to find the Fair Manager sitting still.



Sweetheart of the Mountains will be an essay competition for 2022 due to COVID restrictions that have occupied much of the year preceding the 2022 fair. Hopefully the event can return to its normal status next year but there WILL be a Sweetheart and essay application forms are available through the Fairgrounds office.


The next meeting of the Fair Board is Wednesday, April 20, at 5 p.m. and the public is welcome to attend and listen in.