We are fortunate to have the Alameda County Fairgrounds right here in Pleasanton. There is something happening almost every week, from festivals and haunted houses, to Goodguys car shows and Scottish Games. These events bring in visitors from all over the state and country, not to mention the money these visitors spend while here.
But it is the Alameda County Fair held at the fairgrounds that brings hundreds of thousands of people to our hometown for fun-filled days of concerts, rides, exhibits and, of course, the horse races.
We are not the only ones who see the fair as the jewel it is, and the recognition is international.
Again this year, the Alameda County Fair has been awarded top honors in a variety of categories from both the Western Fairs Association (WFA) and the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) for 2016. The organizations sponsor annual awards programs to recognize outstanding achievement in the areas of agriculture, competitive exhibits and communications.
In all, the fair -- our fair -- took home more than two dozen WFA Awards in its division, including nine first-place awards, seven second-place and 11 third-place honors. IAFE also honored the fair with 16 international awards including three first-place, three second-place and 10 third-place honors.
Alameda County Fairgrounds' CEO Jerome Hoban said in a statement that he and the staff are "thrilled and humbled to once again receive multiple awards across the board from the WFA and IAFE organizations."
"I am proud of our team and their commitment to education, innovation and community," he added.
The fair received first-place honors in the following categories: Competitive Agricultural Program, Innovative Use of Technology (Ag Programs), Competitive Exhibit Display Method, Radio Advertising, Outdoor Advertising, Innovative Use of Technology, Children's Program, Community Outreach Program, Volunteer Program, Event within an Event, Inspiring Collaborations and Partnerships.
Being honored for Inspiring Collaborations and Partnerships acknowledges something else we already knew -- the fairgrounds is a good corporate citizen and community partner.
The fair and the other events at the fairgrounds bring more to Pleasanton than just good times and entertainment. Local hotels see an uptick in stays, especially during large events such as the Goodguys car shows. Restaurants and stores also benefit from the influx of guests.
The most recent economic impact report by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Division of Fairs and Expositions in Sacramento, which is from 2010, showed that the 2009 Alameda County Fair events "created a total spending impact of approximately $268,651,567 on the local economy."
In addition, the city receives sales tax revenues from sales generated on the fairgrounds; of the events, the RV and boat shows are the largest sales tax generators. According to the 2010 report, "The Alameda County Fair generates business tax revenue through the collection of state and local sales taxes, transient occupancy taxes, possessory interest taxes and other taxes and fees. These revenues further generate economic activity by providing for programs to benefit the local community.
"An estimated $4,352,155 annually in additional business taxes will be created from the increased business activity caused by the fair, its attendees and 'interim' events or events held on the fairgrounds occurring throughout the year."
Fairgoers parking on city streets is understandably frustrating for those residents who live close to the fairgrounds. And traffic on Bernal and Valley is maddening some days. However, the Alameda County Fair adds so much to our city that during those few weeks in June and July, we should grin and bear it ... perhaps while enjoying a corn dog and watching a concert.