January 19, 2016
Jessica Boudevin
Mobile: 562-522-9858
Office: 916-927-3100

(Sacramento, CA) — Western Fairs Association wrapped its marquee event at Anaheim Marriott, Jan. 3-6, with honors for achievement in the fair industry. More than 1,350 attendees came together in Anaheim with more than 95 Exhibitors.

Hall of Fame:
George Soares           
Founding Member and Managing Partner, Kahn, Soares & Conway
The fair has been a constant in George Soares' life. He showed cattle as a youth and later received a WFA scholarship to continue his education. Professionally, he had WFA as a client, with Kahn, Soares & Conway serving as the Association's representation and advocate. "The fair industry has been a continuum in one way or another since those early days," said Soares. "It was the fair industry when I was a teenager, Western Fairs when I'm in college, then WFA as a client - It's part of my DNA." Legislative work often happens behind the scenes but makes a very visible impact in the form of funding and preventing or creating laws that shape the industry.
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Tim Fennell
CEO, San Diego County Fair/Del Mar Fairgrounds
Tim Fennell has been a constant supporter of the industry since he began his time with Del Mar Fairgrounds in 1993. From supporting smaller fairs financially to sending staff to other fairgrounds during disasters, he's committed to simply doing what's right. "If there's a position where you can help another, then that's what you do," said Fennell. He's an active participant in his own fair - from joining the PBR Rodeo Clowns during bull riding to trying new attractions first - and neighboring events, showing up at other fairs in progress as a resource or just to have a look around.

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Barham Award:

Brander Enterprises

    Brander Enterprises has been recognized by WFA and their peers with the 2016 Barham Award. The company officially incorporated in 2008, but began with the Texas Donut Stand in 1987 operated by Sil and Carol Brander. Their son Rich and his wife Teresa bought the business, which Rich had been working at for a decade at that point, in 1999, expanding in 2004 with the purchase of Brander's Candy Land Floss stands and the conversion of a stand in order to offer Mini Donuts.
    Since purchasing the business more than 15 years ago, Rich and Teresa have expanded its reputation and its activity. They continually update their graphics with enticing photos of new food items, and update the menu to include trendy fair food creations and updated classics (such as Deep Fried Candy bars, Mini Donut Sundaes, FireBall Whisky-infused Donuts, Cherry Poprock Donut, and Caramel Coconut Samoa Donut).
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Merrill Award:

Marin County Fair

The fair was recognized for its multi-year Healthy Initiatives project. The organization created a guide for events, "Growing Healthy Events is Healthy Business," using their 12 years of experiences as examples when it comes to building a healthy fair or event, from what types of food and beverage products to provide (or not provide) to creating a 'health ambassador' team. The guidebook outlines each component as a timeline that started in  2003 with the 1st Prevention Pavilion, and includes replacing beer as the title sponsor in favor of Play Fair in 2004 and enacting a policy eliminating all sponsorship and marketing of alcohol in 2006. In 2007 Marin County Fair became the first smoke-free fair in the nation, while in 2008 vendors were required to offer healthy options and compostable containers. The fair received a USDA grant in 2013 and created the guide 2015. These projects have been developed and supported by a local nonprofit - FairPlay - that was formed to help the fair become a healthier environment for their guests, and the guidebook represents an outstanding and visionary gift to all of us.
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More About Western Fairs Association
Founded in 1922 and incorporated in 1945, Western Fairs Association (WFA) is a nonprofit trade association serving the fair industry throughout the western United States and Canada. The association's primary purpose is to assist in maintaining the highest professional standards within the fair industry through a voluntary network of individuals and organizations. The primary objective of Western Fairs Association is to promote the prosperity of fairs through educational activities, training programs and legislative advocacy. Currently Western Fairs serves more than 800 members, representing fair-related businesses, fair management, fair board directors, festivals and industry associations. This membership is represented by a 21-member elected board of directors that governs the activities and policies of the association.
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