National Volunteer Appreciation Week

volunteer week 5 National Volunteer Appreciation Week It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week! We want to give a big thank-you to our wonderful volunteers. From leading field trips in The Farm at Fairplex to helping us set up and run our neighborhood parties (and so much more), they are part of our very core.

Their passion, dedication and love for the programs at Fairplex make our guests feel special while learning new things. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you Fairplex Ambassadors, for all that you do! We truly appreciate you icon smile National Volunteer Appreciation Week

To learn more about becoming a Fairplex Ambassador yourself, click here. We’re always looking for new team members!

The LA County Fair is on Carnival Eats!

The Cooking Channel’s Carnival Eats show covers the craziest food in the world, and they’re starting their journey tonight at the LA County Fair.

jalapeno pepepr The LA County Fair is on Carnival Eats!

Photo Cred: @carnivaleats (Instagram)

The Carnival Eats crew visited us during the 2016 LA County Fair and — in line with our Dare to Fair theme — tasted the wildest, juciest, gooiest, strangest foods our Fair has to offer. You can watch it all on The Cooking Channel tonight at 8 p.m. ET.

We look forward to reliving the 2016 Fair! Stay tuned to see what wild foods we have planned for the 2017 Fair…

Strategic Planning Meeting #1 Recap

Last week we hosted our first official Strategic Planning meeting. As we look at the future of Fairplex begin planning for the 100-year anniversary of the LA County Fair in 2022 we will look to these meetings for our next steps.

Strategic Planning Pic 1024x765 Strategic Planning Meeting #1 Recap Our strategic planning sessions are open to the public — all are welcome to join our discussions as we move forward. To learn more about how these meetings work, click here.

Each session focuses on specific topics related to Fairplex’s past, present and future. Last week we covered Agriculture and Food, and Education and Craft Skill Development. Here’s some of what was discussed:

Fairplex TLC ag 300x200 Strategic Planning Meeting #1 Recap Agriculture & Food
We looked back on our agricultural roots — how we started as a simple beet field and have transformed into the dynamic educational event space that we are today. We also took a look at our present ag efforts (the Farm expansion, bringing in livestock, etc) and how we can expand upon this in the future.

Our topic leader, Chef David Teig, also brought in thought leaders in the Ag & Food space to speak on these topics as a whole, and how this could / will affect Fairplex in the future. Subtopics included food & ag education, food trends, job growth and job training in the culinary work space.

After our presentations we had time to listen to what our guests had to say. From our neighbors to educators to government officials, the consensus was clear: to expand our potential, we need to remember our roots.

TLC CDC chalkboard 300x200 Strategic Planning Meeting #1 Recap Education & Craft Skill Development
While everyone knows that the LA County Fair is produced by Fairplex, not everyone knows about the work we do in education. The Learning Centers at Fairplex, which we wrote about last week, is a core part of who we are and what we do.

Our topic leader, Thomas Canavan of the Millard Sheets Art Center, gave a brief introduction for each of our centers, then moved into our vision for the future. Our ideas are centered around our students — preparing them for the future, creating more learning opportunities and allowing potential to thrive.

Lucas Rivera, vice president of Grand Park LA, spoke on how he has worked to create real, genuine community within the arts with the work he has done in the city of Los Angeles. Dr. Holly Reynolds, director of the Child Development Center, spoke more about the importance of education, especially in younger children.

Following their presentations, the room as a whole discussed various aspects of art and education both at Fairplex and in Southern California as a whole.

For a full copy of meeting notes, presentations and other documents, please visit our website. We look forward to upcoming meetings and the discussions to follow!

Fairplex Strategic Planning 2017

As we wrap up the first quarter of 2017 at Fairplex, we are already looking towards the future and what direction we will take as we move towards our 100-year Fair anniversary.

LACF Carnival aerialshot 1024x682 Fairplex Strategic Planning 2017 In keeping with our mission and core values, we have begun a year-long process to develop a strategic plan to keep us moving in a forward direction.

We’re taking in feedback from our residents, partners, local businesses and elected officials as we begin this process, covering topics relevant to our organization such as food and agriculture, education, entertainment, transportation, neighborhood housing and, of course, the LA County Fair.

To learn more about our strategic planning process, head over to Fairplex.com/CEO where you will find documents, presentations, meeting notes and more regarding our next steps.

Thank you for joining us on this journey of ours!

Weekend Recap: Learning & playing

We like to share our weekend experiences through the eyes of our guests! ICYMI, here’s a quick look at what we had the pleasure of hosting:

Spring in The Farm
Our annual celebration of all things agriculture was a huge success! More than 1,000 guests of all ages visited The Farm at Fairplex and learned about the ins and outs of one of America’s largest industries. From animals to food tastings, gardening workshops to hay baling demonstrations, the fun and learning were non-stop all day.



Discover the Dinosaurs UNLEASHED
Meanwhile in Expo Hall 4, learning of a different — bigger — scope was taking place in the form of life-size dinosaurs, fossil digs and prehistoric fun for the kids. Discover the Dinosaurs UNLEASHED provided the perfect blend of entertainment and education as guests went back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth.



SoCal Sports Club Soccer Match
Fairplex has soccer fields! That’s right — we’ve revamped part of our infield into gorgeous grassy fields perfect for soccer. Soccer team Southern California Sports Club (SCSC) now calls Fairplex their home turf, and they had their first ever home game Saturday night against the Riverside Coras.

Although SCSC lost to the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Southwest Conference leaders Deportivo Coras 2-1, the game was exciting to the very end on both sides.

We had a blast learning, living and playing this weekend on our campus. See what’s coming up next at Fairplex.com!

Spring has arrived at Fairplex!

gg 576x1024 Spring has arrived at Fairplex! Spring has arrived at Fairplex, and nowhere is that more apparent than in The Farm. While it’s supposed to rain later this week, we’re too busy soaking up the warm rays and fresh air to worry too much.

New crops, new projects, healthy animals… there’s a lot of agricultural activity happening with the arrival of the new season and we look forward to seeing progress in the coming months!

To celebrate the new season, we’re inviting local communities to join us this Saturday for our annual event, Spring in The Farm. Enjoy the fresh spring weather and celebrate all things American agriculture.

Activities and workshops include: rope making, hay baling, corn grinding, olive oil tasting, science projects, live animals, gardening workshops and more. The event is FREE and all local communities are invited. We hope to see you there!

For more information click here.

Modern Pentathlon World Cup #1 (So Far)

Playing host to an international sporting event is something many of us have never experienced before. It’s been a whirlwind of swimming, fencing, horse riding, running and lasers (aka Modern Pentathlon) and it’s not over yet! 

Check out some highlights from the Men’s Finals below:

We’re in the middle of the Women’s Finals as we speak. The whole World Cup culminates tomorrow at the Mixed Relay Competition when both men and women will compete in the five Pentathlon sports.

In addition to hosting the fencing, horse riding, running and shooting portions of the Pentathlon, we’ve also created a unique learning experience for field trip groups and spectators!

Screen Shot 2017 02 25 at 5.00.16 PM Modern Pentathlon World Cup #1 (So Far) Field trip students at Modern Pentathlon Experience 

The Modern Pentathlon Experience allows guests to try some of the sports for themselves, including shooting a laser pistol and learning about the history of Pentathlon. The exhibit opens up to the infield, where you can see the horse riding, running + shooting up close.

pentathlon awards Modern Pentathlon World Cup #1 (So Far)

Each round of finals ends with the Awards Ceremony, celebrating the 1st – 6th place finalists of the day. 

We’re about to go into the final event (laser-run) of the day, and then we’ll end with the Women’s Awards Ceremony at around 7:30 p.m.

We can’t express enough how amazing an opportunity it has been to host this international event. Thank you to all our staff who helped to make this happen, and to the athletes, coaches and UIPM team who have called Fairplex their home for the past few days!

For more information on the UIPM World Cup, visit uipmworld.org.

60 Minutes with Miguel A. Santana

Miguel Santana 214x300 60 Minutes with Miguel A. Santana

When the company you work for hires a new President and CEO, you pick up your notebook as fast as you can, you walk over to his executive assistant and you schedule an interview. Sounds easy, right? Well, it would be if everyone wasn’t trying to do the exact same thing!

Fortunately for my colleague Heather and me, Miguel had an opening in his schedule so we met with him in his office where he walked us through his life, his goals and, most importantly, his passion for the work he does.

Did you always know you wanted to work in politics? If not, what inspired you?
The Rodney King riots in 1992 inspired me to work hard to make the Los Angeles general region a better and safer place for people. We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to strengthen and empower our community.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience at Harvard?
I knew what I needed to do, so I only applied to one school – which was Harvard. Packing my things and moving with my family to Cambridge, Massachusetts was truly a transformative experience. I was exposed to East Coast weather, urban living and a very diverse culture of students. That’s where I learned that school is a gift compared to working.

What motivates you to get up every morning?
My kids. I have 4 daughters, ages 19 to 28. Their creativity and their mindfulness of what they do, where they work and their beliefs. They’re courageous in that they pursue what they love and are passionate about it rather than just being practical. They write, sing, create art and have their hobbies. They are their own persons, representative of the future. They practice what they believe every day, and I think that is something Fairplex strives to be: a place where people can pursue their passions and interests. That is a core component of who we are.

Your CV is very impressive, what drew you to Fairplex? What is your vision for Fairplex?
I was drawn by the opportunity to build and expand on what we are currently doing here. From quilters to car aficionados, there are so many people who are drawn to what we have going on at Fairplex. There are so many interests and Fairplex is a place where people can develop their interests and share it with others, and hopefully even make a living off of it. Fairplex represents the best of who we are, and it revolves around the crossing of cultures and interests. The question we should be asking is how do we make this even more inclusive and how do we continue to foster and create new cultures? I look forward to transforming our work into a lifestyle, a community, and a place to live, play, learn and work. I think the Fair is the greatest expression of all of this.

What are some of your hobbies?
Exploring Los Angeles. I like to do something new every week, whether it’s trying new foods, visiting museums or historical parts of the city. In 2016, I spent a lot of time in the Westside areas from Venice to Westchester, so now I am really looking forward is to getting reacquainted with Pomona and the surrounding areas. As a food lover, my goal is to connect to places owned by real people, not chain restaurants.

During your 20+ years in government you’ve tackled some of the region’s most difficult challenges. How do you define success?
Success is what you take from something, what you discover and learn to appreciate from your experience. I’m always looking for ways to develop the potential in everyone, everything and everywhere. This can be applied to our mission at Fairplex, which is to give our guests something meaningful to take away. If we can accomplish this, we’ve succeeded.

Do you think it’s important to get to know the people working at Fairplex? Why?
Our employees are the heart and soul of what we do here. Our people are the ones who make Fairplex what it is and I aim to respect and appreciate the work of everyone here. Each person contributes something unique to the company.

In fact, I want Fairplex employees to know they can always stop by my office. I want to hear what they have to say and how they think we can best fulfill our mission and make company culture what they think it should be. Hope they stop by and say hello!   

It’s been more than 30 days since you assumed the position of President and CEO of Fairplex. What can you tell us about this milestone?
I’ve met with all of the elected representatives for Fairplex, and it’s been an interesting and educational experience.  I enjoyed discussing how we can support each other and how to make Fairplex a place to live, learn, work and play for all the residents of Los Angeles County. 

I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with the editors of the Southern California News Group, which not only includes our local paper the Daily Bulletin but the Los Angeles Daily News, the Riverside Press-Enterprise and the Orange County Register. We had a productive conversation that included discussion of the Monday, Feb. 13, Pomona City Council meeting’s study session on F-Zone land uses.

Last month, LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis toured the campus, including The Farm and the Child Development Center. We discussed how the county and Fairplex can work together. Our conversation was positive and we look forward to building our relationship with the entire board of supervisors. 

So far, we’re off to a very good start.

If someone wants to get a hold of you, how can they do so?
They can email me at ceo@fairplex.com, send me a tweet at @FairplexCEO or stop by my office.