CHICO, Calif. – Rodeos and live concerts return to the Silver Dollar Fair Friday night. Fair officials expect it to be packed.
Fair CEO Nick DiGrazia told Action News Now that the fair brought in around $2 million in 2019 and he expects similar numbers this year. He says that after paying all fees and fair wages, the fair should bring in a few hundred thousand dollars.
The fairgrounds are owned by the state, but DiGrazia keeps the revenue in the city.
“The revenue we get comes back into the facility itself,” DiGrazia said. “That’s why we have one of the finest facilities in the state. We run it like it’s a business, and then we invest it in the facility. That’s why CAL FIRE comes here and d other agencies.
The fairgrounds is used as a fire camp for CAL FIRE and has been used for several health services events.
The fair hires about 300 people each year for this event from Chico and surrounding towns. The fair also hires several homeless people from the Torres shelter.
Many are just thrilled to finally have the full return of the fair to enjoy. A modified version of the fair was however held last year due to the pandemic.
In 2021 some animals and most people in the livestock section were not at the fair due to the pandemic, but this year the livestock section is fully open for all to enjoy.
“It feels really good to be back,” said Macie Wood, who works with lambs and goats. “Last year it wasn’t a lot of fun because there were only a few people in the ring, but this year it’s back and there are a lot of long lines.”
Most of the students who spoke with Action News Now are part of 4H or FFA, a national program for students to learn about the field of agriculture and gain experience where they can deal with farming. animals and even attend shows and competitions.
“My agriculture teacher helped me a lot this year and coming to show at this fair. I love being part of the FFA, it helped me a lot,” said Kendra Gomez, 13, who was showing cattle .
There are nearly $2 million in scholarships available to high school and college students through the FFA and several $1,000 scholarships available to college students through 4H.
The livestock section of the fair happens to be in the back, near where the new Pallet Shelter site is. The fence of the Pallet shelter borders the exhibition center.
Some have security concerns about this because the parking lot where everyone working on the farm has to park is right next to the shelter.
Nicole Emery is part of the breeding section, but is however not concerned.
“I actually accidentally walked into the camp originally thinking it was the parking lot,” Emery said. “I was stopped by a security guard and turned around very quickly. I didn’t see anyone but the security guard and I felt it was really well contained in that area. ”
Many people tell Action News Now they are concerned that the homeless shelter is so close to the fair, but some are concerned about possible noise.
The fair will be open over Memorial Day weekend. It is open until 11 p.m. every evening except Monday when it closes at 7 p.m.
The livestock auction starts tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., but the fair opens at 12 p.m. Saturday to Monday.