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Inyo County turning heads at State Fair

July 27, 2011

Inyo County’s State Fair exhibit is turning heads this month. The display, which is designed to show off Inyo’s potential for camping and other recreation, has won two prestigious fair awards. Photo courtesy Rich and Kathy White

Inyo County’s wonders and attractions are on display and drawing crowds at the California State Fair in Sacramento.
This year’s exhibit, “Camp Inyo,” has caught the eye of fair judges, community leaders from across the state and the thousands of potential tourists who attend the annual expo.
Featuring photos, videos, literature and an antique Airstream camping trailer as the centerpiece, the exhibit catches the attention of fairgoers and draws them into the booth where they are inundated with information on the recreational opportunities Inyo has to offer, said Rich White of the Inyo County Coalition of Chambers.
The exhibit received two awards at last Thursday’s awards ceremony at Cal Expo, including the prestigious Best Marketing Presentation Award.
“The judges felt that our exhibit marketed what we were marketing about our county, camping, the best of all exhibits,” White said, adding that county supervisors from other California counties and contractors hired to build other exhibits have stopped in to compliment local volunteers on the exhibit.
White said Inyo’s exhibit also received the Gold Award once again.
“The gold award is like an A in schools. A lot of counties get a gold award for their exhibits,” White said.
Local volunteers are manning the exhibit to tell visitors about all the different recreational activities available, but this year are highlighting camping from below sea level to above 10,000 feet.
According to White, “the Airstream brings people to the exhibit where they then see large color photos of many of the campgrounds from Tecopa to Horton Creek.”
Several video presentations as well as photos and posters show things to see and do in Inyo County. The Lone Pine Gem and Mineral Society donated a display of local gems, which, according to White, has turned out to be one of the most popular displays.
He said young fairgoers seem to be drawn to the gem display, which brings their parents over to hear from local volunteers about Inyo County.
“There are an awful lot of people who didn’t know where Inyo County was before stopping by,” White said. “There are a lot of people who have seen our exhibit in the past and come up to us to tell us they went camping or went to Death Valley. That’s what we’re trying to do. If they come once, they come back.”
There are six local volunteers manning the display. White said that Inyo’s is one of only a few county booths that are manned almost full time. He said the only times the county display does not have a volunteer on hand to answer questions about the area are during short food breaks.
The display is funded through a $10,000 grant from Inyo County which covers the cost of materials, meals, rooms and mileage for volunteers who man the display.
Many of the features, such as the gem and mineral display and reading material, are donated.
The fair opened Thursday, July 14, and runs through Sunday, July 31. First day attendance was 17,535.

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