Dec 08, 2019
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the 136th annual Big Fresno Fair on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (Larry Valenzuela/ The Collegian)

Fair opinion was unfair

We believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion and know The Big Fresno Fair is not everyone’s “cup of tea”; however, we refuse to allow Ms. [Anjanae] Freitas’ Oct. 15 opinion piece be the only voice heard as it has errors and misrepresents so much about the Valley’s longstanding tradition – The Big Fresno Fair. Let’s break this piece down step by step.

Yes, the full price of fair admission is $12, which is less than you pay to see a movie these days. This fair entrance provides you access to exhibit buildings, five free stages of entertainment and various attractions like our Sierra to the Sea exhibit, Nerveless Nocks Thrill Show and more – not to mention our two free award-winning museums! 

Not only is there plenty to do for free once you get into the Fair gates, we have an array of discounts both prior to and during Fair to help you save on Fair admission – we even gave people a way to get into the Fair for free on Fans & Followers Day and for just $4 on our new Fill the Need Day benefiting Valley Children’s Hospital, as well as many other savings dates. 

Before the Fair, we held a food drive at Fresno State at which we gave away free admission tickets to anyone who donated 10 cans of food. That effort collected 98,000 pounds of food that was donated to the Fresno State Student Cupboard to feed students in need. 

So not only do we provide ways to save, we give back to our community. You just have to pay attention and plan ahead to take advantage of all the ways to save. Additionally, each of our parking lots range from $10 – $15, so the $20 notation is just false.

While many come out for the fair food as a splurge moment, it is not a requirement of the fair experience. We do allow people to bring in their own food and sealed bottled water as we know it is not part of every fairgoers budget. We also know that many of our food items are large enough to share, which also allows you the ability to sample more.

As for our exhibit buildings, these places are a source of pride for our Fresno County community, as we showcase the best of the best in Fresno County from fresh produce, flowers arrangements, livestock, paintings, photography, baked goods and more. 

While the fruits and vegetables on display in our Wells Fargo Agriculture building aren’t eaten – they are used to educate the more than 600,000 people who come to the fair on the more than 350 different varieties of agricultural products that are grown right here in Fresno County, the #1 agricultural producing county in the world. Then after the Fair, those fruits and vegetables are utilized to make a compost and put to use. 

Each of the community booths are also put together from top to bottom by volunteer organizations who receive prize money that goes back into their organizations and communities to support their local projects throughout the year.

As you can imagine, finding entertainment that meets the musical tastes of everyone in our community can be a daunting task, but something we strive for each year. We have been fortunate to get an array of artists throughout varying stages in their career, whether that is before they make it big like Demi Lovato in 2008 as noted in Ms. Freitas’ opinion piece or a musical legend toward the end of a career like Willie Nelson. 

While the pricing of shows vary, none of our concerts have ever cost $150 a ticket and we didn’t have any comedians this year. Rather our shows in 2019 ranged from free to $85, with most falling in the $30 range. 

It is important to note, be aware of where you are purchasing your tickets from – there are unfortunately many who purchase and resell tickets at an elevated price. To ensure you don’t fall victim to that, use the fair’s website, www.FresnoFair.com, as the source for ticketing information and ticket purchasing links.

The safety of our fairgoers is the top priority, and that is reflected in our extensive security measures from the walkthrough metal detectors, 89 surveillance cameras and elevated presence of both Fresno Police Officers and private security. That, along with our weekend admissions policy, has significantly reduced the issues noted by Ms. Freitas and in turn, more families are coming to the fair and staying later because they do, in fact, feel safe.  

We do agree with her on this point – if you’re looking for trouble, don’t do so at the fair because you will be caught and thrown out.

We fully agree with Ms. Freitas that the Caruthers Fair is great – it is. But when comparing fairs, one must compare apples to apples. Each year the Caruthers Fair welcomes approximately 60,000 people through its gates.  By contrast, The Big Fresno Fair welcomes more than 600,000 people each year to enjoy a variety of free entertainment and attractions, while providing the opportunity to celebrate, educate and have fun! 

Not only does the Fair provide an affordable entertainment option for many – it provides $71.1 million in economic impact dollars to Fresno County and generates more than 900 jobs. The Big Fresno Fair accomplishes this all with no funding from the state. 

So while Ms. Freitas may have an unfavorable opinion about our fair, it is important to represent the correct facts about The Big Fresno Fair and dually note all that we do to give back and support our community as a whole – as well as Fresno State and its students.

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