The 81st annual Placer County Fair took place from June 21 to 24 in Roseville, California, and the 61-acre former fairgrounds have been reborn as simply @the Grounds.
The fair had been said to be on the decline over the years, due to factors such as poor maintenance and deteriorating quality. Now operated by Placer Valley Tourism, the fairgrounds have undergone $10 million in renovations, which started in July of last year. Placer County Tourism has transformed the facilities into something new and refreshing and the changes have been exciting for everyone involved, including fairgoers.
David Attaway, CEO of Placer Valley Tourism and @the Grounds, recently shared his thoughts about opening day with the Roseville & Granite Bay Press Tribune.
“We are so excited that the fair is finally here,” he told the press. “The positive feedback from the livestock association and various vendors about the renovations has been incredible.”
The theme of the fair this year was “ReNEW your Love of fair,” keeping in theme with the new look and feel of the event.
Renovations to the historic Jones and Johnson event buildings and barns were implemented, in addition to landscaping improvements, new walkways and renovation of the main parking lot. The improvements and projects will be ongoing, according to Gabrielle Stevenson, general manager of @the Grounds.
She says that another upcoming project will be the possible construction of a 5,000 person, 130,000-square-foot events center to be built on the west end of the property. The project is estimated to be completed sometime in 2019. Up to 300 events and conferences per year could be hosted at @the Grounds.
Shiny New Attractions
One of the new features that also helped draw in people and bring additional success to the 2018 fair was Placer Place.
“We had Placer Place this year, and it featured local artists, craftspeople and Placer County wine and beer makers,” says Stevenson.
“Placer Place” located inside Johnson Hall, was established in partnership with the Arts Council of Placer County, Fork 'N Road Productions and the Placer County Vintners Association. Inside the new building, visitors could discover local artists, vendors selling handmade items, artists, a variety of entertainment options and food and beverage offerings, which were included in the popular Placer Wine & Ale Trail Lounge. The lounge featured all 20 Placer County Wine Trail wineries as well as several breweries. Visitors had the opportunity to enjoy wine tastings as well as wine by the glass. Additionally, craft beers were offered and attendees also had the opportunity to meet winemakers and brewers at select days and times.
Entertainment & Other Features
Some of the performers on the fair's musical lineup this year included groups such as Arden Park Roots, the Petty Breakers, Davis' Muttley Crew, Bobby Zoppi & the Corduroys, Old Town Boys, The Tattered and Tied, Tone of Soul, Shauna Lea and Big Trouble, Stardust Highway and Jumpin' Jack Flash. There was also a beer garden with an entertainment stage.
Children also had their own entertainment options – kids could participate in the Kids Celebration on the Family Fun Zone Stage.
Carnival rides and midway entertainment were provided by Jason Wold and Wold Amusements.
More than 25 food vendors were featured on the midway and Stevenson says that with temperatures hitting 104 degrees on two of the four days of the fair run, there were hankerings from fairgoers for “anything cold.”
Also new for this year, Kid's First of Placer created an area where families could bring their little ones to relax, cool off and read. Books were given away and family resources were provided. There were comfortable couches and tables in the room, as well as nursing and diaper changing areas.
Admission, Attendance & Advertising
On all days, tickets were $7 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and children ages 6 to 16. Children 5 and under were admitted free. Family packages were available for $15.
There was an advanced carnival wristband package for $25, which included vouchers for free popcorn and carnival games. Wristbands purchased at the gate were $30. Additionally, there was a golden band that offered unlimited use for all four days, and this was priced at $80.
Stevenson says that attendance was up compared to last year but exact figures could not be given at this time. The fair is advertised through a mix of social and traditional media sources and she says that this year's budget was doubled from 2017.
All involved with the Placer County Fair hope it continues to be successful, especially with the new renovations and management, and that the event continues to attract people for years to come.
“Placer County is an amazing county,” adds Stevenson. “We hope to keep the fair as the best place to showcase our unique region.”