OC Fair Board chooses new leadership; gets final 2017 Fair financial results

COSTA MESA (Oct. 26, 2017) – The OC Fair Board of Directors has chosen Barbara Bagneris as its new chairperson and Robert Ruiz as vice chair. Bagneris, a principal financial analyst at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, has been on the board since 2014. She replaces outgoing chairperson Nick Berardino who remains on the board as a director.

Ruiz has also served on the board since 2014 and replaces Bagneris as vice chair. He is secretary-treasurer at Labors Local 652. Bagneris and Ruiz assumed their new roles during the meeting today and will lead the next board meeting on Nov. 16.

Also at today’s meeting, the staff presented the profit and loss statement for the 2017 OC Fair. Revenue totaled $34.5 million, an increase of nearly $800,000 over 2016.

“The 2017 Fair was a tremendous success,” said OC Fair & Event Center Vice President of Finance and Administration Adam Carleton. “The biggest drivers of that were gate admissions, concessions and rental revenue.”

The Fair also contributes to the community by adding jobs. This year 1,456 seasonal employees worked 213,387 hours; 52% of employees were rehired from a past Fair season.

Per capita spending by fairgoers also increased as did their rating of value and enjoyment, based on a survey conducted during the Fair. Attendees rated the fair 4.41 (of a possible 5) in value, up from 4.28 in 2016. The enjoyment measure also increased to 4.64 in 2017, up from 4.54 in 2016.

That enjoyment rating was reflected in Pacific Amphitheatre ticket sales that hit 146,167, with net proceeds up 19%. The OC Fair Super Pass, purchased by the most loyal fairgoers, saw a revenue increase of 4.4% year over year.

Income from the annual Fair funds the business of the OC Fair & Event Center and pays for education and community give-back programs such as Imaginology, Centennial Farm, Heroes Hall, farm tours and school field trips. Community programs such as Friends of the Fair and OC Fair Kids Club allow those with disabilities and children from underserved areas to attend the Fair at no cost. In addition, 16,013 veterans and active military received free Fair admission as did 990 first responders.

The meeting today also included recognition of staff and volunteers who worked to shelter and care for horses and livestock that were evacuated during the recent Canyon Fire 2. OC Fair & Event Center is a designated large-animal evacuation center that moves into action during disasters. Staff quickly created accommodations for 127 horses, six pigs, six goats, six mini-horses/ponies, three tortoises, two sheep and one steer. Volunteers assisted by feeding the animals, cleaning stalls and helping with transportation.

Janice Tubbiola was also honored as a 50-year OC Fair employee. She most recently worked as an information booth attendant at the Fair.

OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa is home to the annual OC Fair, which attracts more than 1.3 million people. The fairgrounds’ year-round attractions include Centennial Farm, Table of Dignity, Heroes Hall and Pacific Amphitheatre. Imaginology, a free three-day family event focusing on S.T.E.A.M.-related activities and hands-on fun, is presented each April. Throughout the year events ranging from recreation shows to cultural festivals are held at the fairgrounds. For more information about OC Fair & Event Center and its events and venue space, visit ocfair.com.

Support of OC Fair & Event Center provides year-round educational opportunities and helps fund community give-back programs.