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The Monterey County Fair & Event Center Announces Its Capital Campaign

The Monterey County Fair & Event Center Announces Its Capital Campaign

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MONTEREY, CA (August 28, 2023)  The Monterey County Fair & Event Center — popularly known as The Fairgrounds — is home to community events large and small, from the Monterey County Fair and the Monterey Jazz Festival to weddings and anniversaries, seasonal tradeshows, nonprofit fundraisers, flea markets, community gatherings and much more.

The facility also opens its arms to the community in times of urgent need — during wildfires, floods, and earthquakes — as an emergency center and staging area for first responders and a comfort and aid station for natural disaster victims.  With all that in mind, they are launching a major capital drive — Where Your Heart Has a Home Campaign — to raise funds and re-imagine how they can better serve a changing community and address the urgent needs of the local residents.

“Our goal is $1 million to convert our aging barns into a multi-use community center for local events, from barbecues and weddings to a central crisis center in times of emergency and need,” said Kelly Violini, CEO, of Monterey County Fair.  “Restoration of our public restrooms is also a priority. We ask that you give generously during this campaign — every contribution matters, from $5 to $5,000 — to create a purposeful space that provides an environment for our community to connect unite and heal.”

The Monterey County Fair Heritage Foundation supports the operations of the Monterey County Fair & Event Center while funding community agriculture awareness activities, youth scholarships, and capital improvements to the facilities and grounds. Revitalization needed to continue serving a changing community built in 1936 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) facility, the Fairgrounds’ 22 acres in the heart of Monterey has hosted world-famous events — including the 1967 Monterey International Pops Music Festival —and continues to offer a full calendar of important community events, such as the Monterey Jazz Festival and the annual Monterey County Fair. But perhaps its most crucial community contribution is its role in the state emergency response system.

Today, the Fairgrounds require revitalization to retain the community's infrastructure as a vital community gathering place and an essential natural disaster emergency facility. The state turns to facilities such as the Fairgrounds in the wake of natural disasters, staging of emergency vehicles and equipment, and sheltering displaced residents and animals. The Fairgrounds’ support at such times is essential to the community. The Monterey County Fair & Event Center is part of the Network of California Fairs, which includes 76 fairgrounds serving more than 35 million people in the state, generates more than $35 million in nonprofit and community funds, provides 30,000 jobs and contributes $200 million in tax revenue to local and state governments. 

“It’s time to revitalize the Fairgrounds’ old barns to assure the Monterey County Fair & Event Center’s role in our community, and better serve our changing community,” said Violini.  “This project will succeed like every other because we are building community together. And we need you to be part of it.  The spaces within Monterey County Fairgrounds& Event Center belong to all of us. Therefore, our goal with this project is to involve everyone in our community so that we can all say we did it together. The time is now, and every contribution counts.”

The initiatives for the proposed New Barn and New Bathrooms share a common goal: to preserve the Fairgrounds, rooted in the local community and focused on community needs, while looking ahead at the broader opportunities for youth. The Agricultural Association changes lives, and funds raised locally stay local. Investment in the Fairgrounds is a return on investment, both for those who give and those who receive.

Recognition for investment in The Heartbeat of our Community Campaign will be based upon the preference of the individuals and organizations making the gift. Such recognition may include, with permission: Facility naming rights, Public recognition in Monterey County Fair &Event Center e-newsletters and social media recognition in annual celebratory events, Fairground benches, Fairground bricks and other avenues of recognition discussed with and approved by the donor:

$75,000 or more: Supreme Champion 

Building Naming Opportunity Donor Board Recognition

$50,000–$74,999: Grand Champion 

Restroom Area Naming Opportunity Donor Board Recognition

$25,000–$49,999: Reserve Champion

Donor Board Recognition

$10, 000–$24,999: Purple Ribbon

Donor Board Recognition

$5,000–$9,999: Class Winner

Donor Board Recognition

$2,500–$4,999: Showmanship

Donor Board Recognition

$1,000–$2,499: Herdsmanship

Donor Board Recognition

$500–$999: Exhibitor

$1–$499: Friend of the Fair

If you would like additional information, please contact us at or at 831-372-5863. Visit our website at

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