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GRASS VALLEY, Calif. August 1, 2016 – George and Sandy Woods have been named to the Nevada County Fair’s Hall of Fame. The Fair’s Board of Directors recognized the Woods for their long-time service and dedication to the Nevada County Fair.
George and Sandy have been involved with the Fair since they moved to Nevada County in 1985. As active exhibitors, they won the Best of Show for their Zinfandel from their vineyard; and Sandy won the Proud Tradition for needlepoint and Best of Show in preserved foods. Besides being exhibitors, during the Fair they shoveled manure and assisted with cleaning the barns for the Farm Bureau; they were buyers at the Junior Livestock Auction; and as Master Food Preservers, they organized the Master Food Preservers exhibit and performed demonstrations of canning, pickling, pressure cooking, and dehydration.
Sandy started working as Deputy Manager at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in 1995, and served as the CEO of the Fairgrounds from 2009 to 2015. She served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Western Fairs Association for 10 years and as the WFA President in 2012, and was inducted into WFA’s Hall of Fame in 2015. During this time, she also served as the Chair of the California Fairs Alliance, where she provided leadership in creating successful legislation to significantly reduce the regulatory oversight of fairs and sought reinstatement of fair funding for California’s 78 Fairs.
During Sandy’s employment at the Fair, George worked quietly behind the scenes as the head volunteer at the Fairgrounds. He filled in wherever he was needed – and he always did it with a smile! He spent years on the exhibit crew, spending summers creating the exhibit props and getting the buildings ready for the Fair, and then weeks after the Fair undoing the exhibits and storing them for the following year. He also managed the work of the trustee labor from the jail, including transporting them to and from the jail. Additionally, on the Day for People with Disabilities, George would transport individuals from the local rest homes to the Fair so they could participate in the parade. George was often in disguise, dressing up in costumes for parades and skits. One year, after dressing up in an antique rooster costume and prancing around the stage during Opening Day Ceremony, George almost passed out as a result of the heat and lack of oxygen from wearing the rooster head!
“The Fair is a great community asset – it’s where our community comes to celebrate who we are,” said Sandy. “It’s where our children learn to ride their bicycles. It’s where our community seeks safety when there’s a disaster. It’s where we come together to hold fundraisers so that we can infuse money back into our economy and assist those who may be less fortunate. There’s a spirit on the Fairgrounds, which makes it a very special place.”
While Sandy and George have many fond memories of the Fair – George says that his favorite is the year they purchased a pig at the Junior Livestock Auction and it escaped from the auction ring, ran through the crowd, and stopped right in front of them. He says with a laugh “our visiting relatives from the city were amazed and thought that was a normal procedure and that we were going to grab the pig and take it home with us.” Sandy says one of her fondest Fair memories occurred late one evening as she was standing at Gate 5 watching patrons leave. Two couples were strolling together and as they approached the gate, one of the women looked over her shoulder and said, “Farewell Fair – I’ll see you next year.” To Sandy, this demonstrates her belief “that the success of the Nevada County Fair is the love the community feels for the Fair.”
Sandy and George, who will be married 40 years in October, have three children – Peggy, Jenine and Dan; as well as eight grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Now that Sandy and George have retired, they are enjoying time developing a vegetable garden, entering canning and pickling in the Fair, traveling, hiking, fishing, and putting their extensive wilderness and primitive skill training in use. They are members of the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation and the Foothill Lions Club, and have been buyers at the Junior Livestock Auction since 1985.
“We are both deeply honored to be chosen for induction into the Hall of Fame,” said Sandy. “When we were told, George was stunned and I was delighted with his inclusion. Not only has he devoted many hours to volunteering at the Fair, but he has graciously and patiently accepted the many hours and days that the Fair drew my attention away from my family.”
“Sandy and George’s service and dedication to the Nevada County Fair are commendable,” said Rea Callender, CEO of the Fairgrounds. “They have worked tirelessly on behalf of the Nevada County Fair, and their work has ensured that the Fairgrounds can be enjoyed by future generations. It is an honor to be able to celebrate them.”
The Woods will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at opening day ceremony on August 10. They will receive a portrait donated by Shaffers Originals of Grass Valley. The 2016 Nevada County Fair is August 10 – 14. For more information, visit www.NevadaCountyFair.com.