Dinner, auction raise money for Ag foundation

PASO ROBLES — Friday night the California Mid-State Fair’s board of directors hosted their annual dinner and auction event which included, among many things, announcements of the upcoming concerts that have been scheduled, various awards including Employee of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, and a lot of money raised for the San Luis Obispo County Foundation for Agriculture Awareness. 

The night kicked off with a cocktail party and silent auction where friends and family gathered together in their best “Paso formal” attire and began speculation as to who they thought might be coming to the fair while also placing bids a little higher than they told their spouse due to the convenient veil of secrecy.

Following the cocktail hour, everyone was herded into the event center where the live auction commenced and dinner was served. The live auction included five different packages all valued at more than $1,000 dollars that showcased our local area and businesses such as a tour through Hearst Castle and Firestone Brewery. But the most popular of all might have been the Mid-State Fair VIP package, which came with a front row parking spot for all 12 days in July. 

The dinner was accompanied by a handful of awards and recognitions and followed by the concert announcements. 


The proceedings started with recognitions given to the Junior Livestock Auction’s top buyer in the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, the Replacement Heifer top buyer in Sky Rose Ranch and the Industrial Arts top buyer in Brian Pritt.

The 2018 recipient of the Employee of the Year, Chico Cerda, took the stage next to give the award to the 2019 recipient, Lourdes Pinon. 

“This is the woman that you want on your staff,” Bradley said. “You look around the facilities and all you see is cleanliness. She is in charge of the bathroom crews, overseeing the building’s being cleaned and actually does the work herself. She excels at everything she does.”

Chief Executive officer Michael Bradley introduced the Board of Directors’ Volunteers of the Year Award to Valerie Cockran and Dr. Dan Eller.

“Her volunteer efforts always start long before the fair when she participates in important work days and planning sessions,” Bradley said of Cockran. “She is a key member of the team that helps puts out official judging days but also helps as a runner and assisting wherever necessary.”

Dr. Eller is known as the marketing voice of the Friends of the Fair and has been key in circulating and expressing the values that come with having a local county fair. 

“This is a piece of Americana and I hope in my small way I can continue to support it and keep it going” Dr. Eller said to the crowded event center. 

Other awards included the CEO Award which was given to Brett Butterfield, the California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation Member of the Year Award which was given to Deana Nelson and the 16 Bar AA Award which went to Login Cabin Concessions. 

Before presenting the concerts, the Board of Directors also took the time to announce their newest members that live forever in the Hall of Fame. 

The fair’s newest Hall of Fame members included Bob and Joanne Cummings, Chuck and Brenda Fletcher, Vivan Robertson and Hugh Pitts.