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Retired fairgrounds CEO returns to former job
fair

Retired fairgrounds CEO returns to former job

Venue slates various events prior to 2016 fair

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乐动体育With the fair fast approaching, the Kings County Fairgrounds is keeping a full schedule following the recent departure of its CEO and fair manager.

乐动体育Kate O’Neil, who had managed the facility since January 2014, resigned in September 2015. Her last day was Nov. 15. The fairgrounds’ board of directors appointed former longtime CEO and manager Angie Avila to take over in the interim.

“[O’Neil] just felt it wasn’t a good fit for her,” Avila said.

Avila retired in December 2013, but returned to work about two months later as the fairgrounds’ office manager. She said she will likely remain interim CEO and fair manager until at least next year. She said the board is not currently seeking a permanent replacement.

Fair staff is currently finishing up planning for the upcoming Kings County Fair and printing posters for the event.

Following several years of struggling, Kings fairgrounds staff is keeping busy this year with a number of events.

乐动体育Last week the fairgrounds hosted the Western Classic Junior Dairy Show, which featured more than 400 dairy animals. The fairgrounds began hosting the Sequoia Kennel Club and Kings Kennel Club of California dog shows on Thursday. The shows will continue through the weekend.

Other upcoming events include:

乐动体育March 19: Central Valley Rabbit Breeders Association rabbit show

April 3: Budweiser’s Custom Car Show

April 7-9: Kings County 4-H Fair

乐动体育May 21: 48th annual Hanford Vintage Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet

乐动体育June 9-12: 2016 Kings Fair

Various racing events are also lined up at the Keller Auto Speedway in the coming months. Avila said the fairgrounds will soon see the addition of a go-cart racing track.

Avila said year-round events are essential to the facility’s financial well-being. The Kings Fairgrounds was hit hard in 2012 when the state discontinued its annual funding of $165,000. O’Neil told The Sentinel in 2014 that the fairgrounds’ finances could force the venue to close by 2016.

That scenario led to the creation of the Kings Fair Foundation, a nonprofit organization launched in February 2014 to help offset the loss of state funding.

Avila said the fairgrounds and the foundation are currently working on a project to build new restrooms near the livestock area along 10th Avenue.

Other future projects include some painting around the facility and maintenance of flowerbeds. Avila said fairgrounds staff will also be installing shade coverings in several areas to help patrons keep cool.

乐动体育Last year’s fair coincided with a heat wave that brought triple-digit temperatures.

乐动体育Avila said this is her 30th year working at the fairgrounds. She served as CEO and fair manager for 10 years.

乐动体育“It’s like I never left,” Avila said.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or meiman@addaptcreative.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeE_HS.

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