Inyo County ambassadors Rich and Kathy White have nearly completed construction of the local exhibit for the California State Fair in Sacramento.
According to the Whites, the major construction is finished and there are just a couple TV cutouts to make and one mural to get properly anchored before the annual event kicks off July 12.
This week, the couple will be working on placing photo exhibits and installing TVs in time for the million-plus spectators to arrive.
The Fair will run through July 28 and Inyo County’s booth will advertise everything from the Eastern Sierra’s angling opportunities to Death Valley, Mt. Whitney and other local treasures in an effort to raise awareness about “the other side of California.”
The Whites have been Inyo’s State Fair ambassadors for several years, offering videos, slide-shows and reading material about virtually all of Inyo’s attractions.
The State Fair has been a part of California’s history for more than 150 years and has grown to more than one million visitors annually.
Shortly after the discovery of gold, the state’s first daily newspaper, Alta California, encouraged the formation of an agricultural society to enhance the state’s reputation as an ideal place for farming and industry. The California legislature created the State Agricultural Society in 1852 and in 1854 the first California State Fair was held in San Francisco.
The Fair’s features in 1854 included two-inch-long peanuts, 72-pound beets and a 10-pound carrot measuring three feet long. Thrill shows, contests and pageants were introduced to enliven the summer event.
Sometime in the 1870s, California’s counties began to compete for “bragging rights” by creating exhibits showcasing their part of the state. This competition continues and today the Counties Exhibits are some of the most popular annual Fair exhibits. And among the county’s exhibits, Inyo’s annual display has become a favorite for judges (who have awarded the county several ribbons in recent years) and visitors, who are eager to hear what is available on the east side of the Sierra.