For over 80 years, the backbone of the Sonoma County Fair has always been agriculture. Generations of 4-H and FFA'ers grew up showing animals at the Fair and returned years later to watch their children and even grandchildren do the same.
One of these young 4-H members was Saralee McClelland Kunde, who showed her prized cows at the Sonoma County Fair as a youth in the 1950s and ’60s. Saralee remained closely integrated with promoting agriculture and the fair throughout the rest of her life, becoming an employee and later a board member of the Sonoma County Fair. She and her husband, Richard, hosted numerous fundraisers each year, helping to fund scholarships for youth in agriculture and educational activities. When Saralee passed away from ovarian cancer on January 26, 2014, she left an incredible legacy as a grape grower, philanthropist, community leader and agricultural mentor. It was Saralee’s dream to build a pavilion on the Sonoma County Fairgrounds that would be a center for agricultural education during the fair and throughout the rest of the year. She was fully supported in this dream by Richard.
The agricultural industry in our county generates over 4 billion dollars annually. As a county based in agriculture, be it dairy, grapes and other commodities, having a location where agriculturalists can showcase their value to our community is essential. A permanent agriculture education center promotes better understanding of agriculture, which in turn provides support for farmers and ranchers. In an increasingly urban culture, educating youth about the importance of our agriculture industry and how it brings fresh food to their table daily is more important than ever.
When not being used for agricultural promotion or education, Saralee and Richard’s Barn will serve as a venue for a multitude of other events including fundraising dinners, wine competitions, Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Ag Days for over 4,000 elementary school children, culinary demonstrations and farm to table activities, 4-H and FFA seminars and meetings, private events and livestock events to name a few.
> Donor Recognition Wall
The following donation levels will be delineated on the external donor wall:
> Paver by Paver
Donors that give $1,000 or more will have the opportunity to have an engraved brick (with personal message) placed along the walkways of the Redwood Credit Union Plaza and surrounding the water feature.