By Mari Erin Roth
Special to Plumas News
The Plumas Sierra Fair Board members met via Zoom Sept. 24 and had all kinds of news about the strange and unusual year of 2020. Fair Manager John Steffanic reported that although the season’s events have been cancelled due to Covid 19, hosting visiting firefighters has supplemented the fairgrounds income well.
Fire crews, staff and support services have filled every possible inch of the fairgrounds reported Steffanic including the meadow owned by High Sierra Music Festival, the Plumas Recreation and Park District lot, and several other nearby buildings including some churches.
“The firemen have been very respectful of the grounds,” said Steffanic, “and the grass looks better now after five months of fire activity than it has after four days of High Sierra!”
Steffanic added, “This has shown why it is so important to keep the fairgrounds open all the time.” The fairgrounds is providing a home for evacuated horses, cows, goats, chickens and other large animals that were unable to be housed at evacuation centers, not to mention having a place quickly ready to accommodate the entire fire camp.
In addition to the unexpected funds from the many months fire crews have occupied the fairgrounds, the board agreed at their Zoom meeting to accept the first payment of funds from the Western Fairs Association. “The budget has been cut to the bare bones,” said Steffanic as the County hub rides the wave until public events are again permitted. The WFA funds will allow for a number of one-time expenditures including a much needed lawn mower.
Steffanic says staff is trying to make good use of the time to repair and maintain sections of the property during the lull between big county events.
It’s a drive thru Christmas
The Fair Foundation will be heading up a Covid Christmas Light Spectacular. Steffanic said he hopes the event will be a hit and continue to grow each year. Foundation members and volunteers aim to create a sparkling holiday eye-candy tour of seasonal lights and decorations. Folks will be able to enjoy a tour of cheer through the decorated fairgrounds safely from their vehicles this winter to celebrate the 2020 holidays, and boy won’t it be a present when this year ends!
“We’ll have a jigsaw day, and a paint day,” said Steffanic describing the exhibit building process, “and have the tours open four weekends from Thanksgiving to Christmas from say 6-8 p.m.”
Another event the Fair Foundation has been tasked with is the resurgence of the “free lunch” in the form of a Community Picnic. Offering Pulled-Pork sandwiches to gather folks for simply coming together to enjoy a summer afternoon together was presented. Plumas News will keep you abreast of the details as they are revealed at coming board meetings.
“The Sweetheart event was amazingly successful,” announced Steffanic. Zaya White of Loyalton is the 2020 Sweetheart and Chyanne Morrison of Quincy is the runner up in a competition that had the participants within a single point of each other, reported Steffanic. Three judges from other areas were used, none knew either of the girls. “The talent was taped and the answers to the questions were taped as well,” said Steffanic. The judges were separated yet the scores couldn’t have been closer. “The girls shared in $1,500 in scholarship monies and did an outstanding job,” said Steffanic.
The 2021 competition is scheduled to begin in January. Fair Manager Steffanic has all the details for any persons interested in this event, 283-6272. The competition videos are still viewable at plumas-sierracountyfair.net with other 2020 virtual fair “entries.”
Planning for the future
The Board selected a theme for the 2021 fair. It came about as former Sweetheart of the Mountains, Nancy Gambel, scanned historical photos of the Plumas Sierra Fair over its 100-year run for preservation and online postings. Many of the board members spotted their younger selves in the photos from 50 years ago and the whole process created a real appreciation of nostalgia in general for the board members. The theme chosen honors that history, Celebrate Fairs Past.
And they are ready! “The 2021 exhibit guide is almost finished,” said Steffanic. “All I needed was the theme!” A few new categories are added for 2021 reflecting the unusual days the County has been experiencing along with the rest of the world. In photography, “Fires” will be added as well as a sewing category, “facemasks.”
The next Fair Board meeting will be conducted via phone on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 10 a.m. Updates from that meeting will be reported here at Plumasnews.com