As the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park has captured international attention, one of the many problems it has caused is the displacement of a number of Sierra Nevada residents. With emergency shelter options at a premium, the Mother Lode Fair in Sonora served as an evacuation facility for residents and their pets, in partnership with the American Red Cross. As firefighters continue to make substantial progress on this fire, we are relieved that the evacuation order in the area has been lifted, and that people are being allowed to return to their homes.
Providing emergency shelter is one of many ways California’s network of fairs steps in to serve communities. Fairs have also housed livestock during emergencies, and have frequently served as emergency command centers for firefighters and other emergency response personnel. Fairs are committed to this role even though they’re contending with budget reductions that have resulted in layoffs and losses of local programs. They are to be commended for maintaining this essential level of community service with fewer resources.
The California Department of Food & Agriculture’s Division of Fairs & Expositions provides fiscal and policy oversight to the network of California fairs and ensures compliance with laws and regulations. California’s 78 fairs are located throughout the Golden State from early spring to the fall of each year. We are proud to call them our partners.