Announcing the
Named in honor of WFA's founder Louis Merrill, this award is presented annually to those entries that clearly demonstrate innovation, vision, and excellence. As part of the selection process, finalists are chosen to present their projects* at the WFA Convention & Trade Show.

The winner(s) will be announced during the Industry Awards Dinner.**

*12:30 - 2:00 pm
January 3, 2018
Leadership Luncheon
Grand Ballroom E
Ticket required
**6:30 - 9:00 pm
January 5, 2018
Industry Awards Dinner
Platinum Ballroom
Ticket required
​​​​​​​Contact the WFA Office for details
Hands on Farming
This new ag experience at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles pays tribute to local ag community legend Dr. Joe Sabol. Fairgoers of all ages engaged in experiences led by Dr. Sabol, other Cal Poly professors, and local growers during 20-minute hands-on demonstrations followed by Q & A sessions. Some of the 30 classes included Fruit Tree Grafting, Bonsai Tree Care, Farm Knot Tying, and Growing Dahlias, Dragon Fruit, and Tomatoes. The entire Hands on Farming experience was provided free with fair admission.
Fair Farm Building
The Central Washington State Fair in Yakima's Fair Farm Building has been entertaining and educating guests for 20 years, continuing to grow and offer new experiences for young fairgoers. With signs proclaiming "Every time you eat a meal, you become a part of AGRICULTURE!" and "Remember to thank a farmer", the exhibit serves to bring children closer to the ag community. With attractions like the Fair School, Straw Maze, Pony Stable, Milking Barn, and Goat Mountain, children are entertained for hours. Shaded seating and a Mothers' Area complete the experience to increase guest length of stay. All activities at the Fair Farm Building are free with fair admission.
Adopt the Fair Program
2018 saw record-breaking wildfires throughout the state of California, the largest of which occurred in Lake County. The Mendocino Complex fire burned over 400,000 acres, forcing the evacuation of the fairgrounds' home city of Lakeport, only allowing return 16 days before fair. Prior to the fire, the new Adopt the Fair program saw service clubs, schools, community activity groups, and vocational clubs pledge to design, landscape, and brand certain areas of the fairgrounds. As many were unable to return home in time for fair, it was astounding how the community stepped forward to fulfill their pledges. Community support for the fair was further demonstrated with a 32% rise in attendance and a record-breaking livestock auction.
All for One & Fun for All!
The 2018 theme for the Marin County Fair in San Rafael, California sought to celebrate diverse cultures throughout their community. "All for One & Fun for All!" offered opportunities for everyone to feel included at the fair, from the fair's themed artwork of multi-colored hands to exciting community-provided entertainment on the Global Stage and Three Twins Solar Stage. To add to the variety of music and dance from around the world, the fair hosted an International Festival of Short Film and Video, receiving 1,128 entries from 78 countries. Culinary contests included a Recetas Latinas Contest for Latino foods. The fair also worked with WFA member Out at the Fair to promote an LGBTQ+ -friendly day, ensuring all cultures in their community felt welcome at the fair.
empowHER Lounge
Young women felt empowered at the 2018 Stanislaus County Fair in Turlock, California. Leading up to fair-time, the fair partnered with their local mall for in-kind advertising, several shops within the mall for gifts, discounts, and sponsoring an essay contest, and with a popular radio host to champion the Lounge. During the fair, workshops included topics such as Health and Fitness, Interview Skills, Building Financial Confidence, and Be Responsible on Social Media. The consistent message found throughout the Lounge was "Confidence is Beautiful" and "Kindness is Power." Over 3,250 young women came through the lounge during the fair's 10-day run.
Learn more about each of these projects at the Leadership Luncheon,
then see who takes home the prize at the Industry Awards Dinner!

Contact the WFA office for tickets
Both events occur January 23 at the WFA Convention in Reno
Explore our new website at
916.927.3100  |  1776 Tribute Rd, Ste 210, Sacramento, CA 95815