Amador County Fair Foundation

A nonprofit organization

2 donors

Join the Farm to Future Initiative

“The rural county fairs are really the original ‘Farm to Fork’ movement,” says Ray Ryan, winegrower and Vice President of the Amador County Fair Foundation. He was a catalyst in the Amador Four Fires project, leading a planning committee of the Fair Foundation that adopted the idea. 

“But with the kinds of challenges facing rural county fairs these days, we more think of our mission now as ‘Farm to Future.’ ”

Your gift to the Amador County Fair Foundation goes directly to its new Farm to Future Initiative, raising funds for the renovation and rehabilitation of structures and facilities that can assure a bright and self-sustaining future for the Fairgrounds. 

“These rural fairs in California date back to before the Civil War,” explains Patrick Crew, President of the Fair Foundation board of Directors.  “Their goal was to educate people about agriculture and to provide a central community gathering place. Not much about that unique, central role in our community has really changed.  County fairs have evolved into the heartbeat of the economic, social and culture lives of our community. Here in Amador, our Fairgrounds is our town square where everyone gets together.” 

 It’s clear that everyone in the county, from all walks of life, depend on the fairgrounds. While the need for the Fairgrounds remains constant, how these cherished institutions are funded is changing dramatically.

“In the ‘30s, legislation was passed that provided funds for rural county fairs from horse race betting,” says Ryan.  “By the ‘80s and ‘90s, those funds started evaporating. By 2009, those resources had disappeared altogether. Subsequent funding sources from the state were eliminated in 2011. In fact, several rural county fairs in California are struggling to find new funding models.” 

Amador County took a lead in pioneering new ways to generate new funding sources with the establishment of the Amador County Fair Foundation in February 9, 2009, led by community leaders such as Pat, Ray, Stan Lukowicz, and others. The Fair Foundation’s mission is to support and benefit the community buildings and educational projects of the Amador County Fair, and to insure the growth and viability of the Amador County Fair and the 26th District Agricultural Association.

 “Our Fairgrounds structures were built post-World War II,” says Troy Bowers, Executive Director of the Fair and Fairgrounds. “With dwindling funds, we had to defer key maintenance. Dry rot and termites were taking their toll. Several buildings were in real danger, and we were on the verge of losing our Arena. And that arena is a major source of income,“ he says. 

While the Fair Foundation board is an independent fundraising body dedicated to the Fairgrounds, the Amador County Fair board is the governing body and oversees the Fairgrounds – a rural example of public/private partnerships collaborating to serve their communities. Both institutions are responding to the challenges of these new times, Bowers explains. But more needs to be done and fast. 

Just recently, the ACFF developed its Farm to Future Initiative, a new fundraising plan to do just that! 

The plan starts with proceeds generated by Amador Four Fires.  Additional efforts will reach out to the community to join in with their own personally significant contributions, with all proceeds dedicated to urgent capital initiatives which, when completed, could make the Fairgrounds fully self-sustaining business by 2017. 


*** Photo: courtesy Larry Angier, Image West Photography

Left to Right –

Chad Simmons, Lindsey Ferguson, Stan Lukowicz, Ray Ryan, Terry Moore, (in back) Sheldon Windley,  (front) Paul Molinelli Jr.,  (back) Pat Crew, Jill Curran, Robert Manassero and Ciro Toma.


Organization Data


Organization name

Amador County Fair Foundation

Tax id (EIN)



Humanitarian Aid


PO BOX 1072