By Neal Hitch
7:22 PM PST, February 20, 2013
Planning for the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta could easily take 12 months, but Theresa Garcia does it — and in much less time. Garcia is the general manager of the Imperial Valley Expo fairgrounds. And even though it is a part-time position, her winter job benefits everyone in the Valley.
Garcia has been involved with fairs in California since she was 9 years old and participated in 4-H at the Dixon May Fair, the oldest district fair and fairgrounds in the state of California. For many years, she worked in the fair business in Northern California in various capacities.
In 2002, Garcia began working each year at the Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta as a concessions auditor. However, in 2008, when the Imperial Valley Expo was in transition and between managers, Garcia agreed to come down for eight weeks to manage the fair. But that is when the fair bug bit her, and in her words, “the Imperial Valley fair got in my blood.”
“They asked me to come back the next year, but I had commitments to summer fairs in Northern California and could not commit to a full-time job,” she explains.
Garcia then agreed to take the position as general manager of the Expo, part-time, and this has proven to be beneficial for all. Like many other winter visitors, Garcia arrives in the Valley in the fall and leaves before summer. And while many other fairs in the state have come under extreme financial pressures in the last five years, the Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta has positioned itself well.
“Our fair used to receive 10 percent of its funding from the state,” says Garcia, “and for every state dollar the fair industry receives they generate six dollars in taxes, but we no longer get any funds from the state. Five years ago the fair board saw this coming. We cut one maintenance position, and I agreed to work part-time. During the last five years in California, 20 out of 79 fairs were in jeopardy of closing their doors, luckily none have.”
Read more about Garcia in the February 2013 edition of Valley Women Magazine in print or our online E-Edition.
Copyright © 2013, Imperial Valley Press